Dutch city of architecture presents exceptional projects
Rotterdam, as known as the city of architecture in the Netherlands, will be hosting the 5th International Architecture Biennale that starts on 19 April. The central theme in this edition is “Making City”, exploring the current global trend towards urbanisation. The main exhibition in the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) and in various smaller shows on ‘Smart Cities’ show the opportunities that cities can use to find a workable balance between socio-economic welfare and the environment. While the biennale is intriguing to people working in the field of architecture, it will also be interesting for people visiting and living in Rotterdam. With such striking council initiatives as the construction of the “Luchtsingel” – a wooden pedestrian bridge created by and for citizens and businesses – and the start of the new ZigZagCity architecture festival, this edition of the IABR offers something for everyone. The IABR will be on display through 25 August 2012.
5e IABR: Making City
‘How do we make city?’ That is the central question of the 5th IABR: Making City. It is also an appeal to everyone – public administrators, policymakers, politicians, designers and private citizens – to engage actively in the development of the city. 35 projects from over 25 cities around the world have been invited by the IABR to come to Rotterdam in April 2012. Their plans and projects and the collaborative projects of the IABR will be included in the main exhibition of Making City on display in the Netherlands Architecture Institute. The 5th IABR: Making City considers how the city can continue to bring prosperity in sustainable ways. Cities will have to be designed in fundamentally different ways than they have been so far. Projects in New York, Paris, São Paulo, Delhi, Rotterdam and other cities around the world show that standard solutions are no longer sufficient. The future of city development involves much more interplay between different disciplines, in which constantly changing alliances will have to balance a social agenda with their economic ambitions. Only then, the 5th IABR suggests, will cities be the solution for the major socio-economic and ecological challenges that face us in this century.
New architecture festival: ZigZagCity
During the 5th IABR: Making City, a new architecture festival will be held this year. ZigZagCity is an extraordinary architecture route through the city that shows an entirely different side of Rotterdam. The route runs through hidden courtyards and walkways in downtown Rotterdam that many people have never seen. Artists and architects, including Observatorium, Gyz la Rivière, Rnul Interactive, Thijs van Vuure and Iris Schutten, will be transforming these secret spaces in fun and surprising ways from 20 April through 6 May. One example is the visually inspiring contribution by DUS architects entitled ‘The Bubble Building’, which is constructed entirely from soap bubbles. The more people who participate in working on the bubble, the bigger it gets. Photos are taken of the Bubble Building every few seconds, recording a special photo moment for everyone interacting with the building.
I Make Rotterdam – locals build an ‘air canal’
‘I Make Rotterdam’ is a project of the 5th IABR: Making City and ZUS architecture firm (Zone Urbaines Sensibles), in which people living in Rotterdam can literally help make their city. In the area between Rotterdam Central Station and the old Hofbogen railway viaduct, a 350-metre ‘air canal’ will be constructed to bring renewed vitality to this part of the city. The construction of this wooden pedestrian bridge will be fully sponsored by the people of Rotterdam. They can each buy their own board, construction element, or section of the bridge and have their own personal text engraved on it. Over 17,000 boards will be needed to complete construction of the bridge. This air canal is the first project in the ‘I Make Rotterdam’ initiative. It was inspired by the High Line project in NYC, in which an elevated city park was built on a disused New York rail line. The park was constructed in 2009 and immediately became a resounding success, enjoying widespread international acclaim. ‘I Make Rotterdam’ will continue until 2014. In addition to the Luchtsingel pedestrian bridge, the project will include involvement in urban initiatives and alternative development strategies aimed at contributing to high-quality areas at the street level.