Synchronous Cultures

The Slotervaart district is known for its monotonous and low-quality housing stock and its absence of social cohesion. Although the various ethnic groups form tight communities, the interconnection between these groups is nonexistent.  

To create a better social cohesion and fix the outdated urban layout, the August Allebé square needs to become a communal place for cultural expression. By superimposing an open space on a dense subcultural program, two vertically separated levels are created.

 The lower level consists of a dense grid of transparent spatial modules to simultaneously experience a Hindu wedding, the passionate joy of a soccer match, the scent and taste of a nocturnal Ramadan meal or the sound of a piano lesson.

 

 
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 The upper level is open to the entire neighborhood and encompasses the potential for large-scale cultural expressions such as concerts and manifestations, but also allows smaller scale functions like markets or sport events. New icons of contemporary life have emerged. Culturally unspecific functions like Albert Heijn (supermarket), cash withdrawal machines and the city hall that are shared by all cultures replace the cornerstone function that church and mosque used to have in a mono cultural society.

Physically the square consists of two levels, but the program defining the square is culturally defined in three layers; the generic, collective and subculture program. The large urban open space is the elevated square with visual connections to the acclaimed icons of generic functions such as the LIDL, a cash withdrawal machine and a statue of Ahmed Marcouch. These generic entities connect all cultural layers and the two levels of the square. Collective program, such as a mosque and church do pierce through the upper level, but do not create an access between the two levels.

 

 

 
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SYNCHRONOUS CULTURES

type
Prix de Rome

location
Amsterdam

year
2009

status
idea

collaborators
team West Arch
Olmo Peeters
Uno Fujisawa
Kaita Shinagawa
Nina Scheizer