Intermediate Size – Perspectives

Graduation Studio, ongoing

Perspective infrastructure One of the graduation studios focused on the influence of large-scale modern infrastructure networks on urban morphology. Modern mass transport systems are built at specially designed locations, but due to their enormous scale also produce specific spaces along their trajectories that often differ in form and program from the neighboring residential areas. These individual spaces can be defined – depending on their specific spatial characteristics – as mediating, separating or even autonomous intermediate spaces. Nevertheless, due to their different sizes, shapes and programs, it is difficult to clearly define and classify these types of spaces. This makes systematic exploration based on unambiguous indicators, as maintained in the original book – The Intermediate Size: A handbook for collective dwellings – virtually impossible. In short, the studio arrived to the conclusion that on the level of the city, the “size” of the “intermediate” is always hybrid and therefore less suitable for consistent categorization.

Selection of results from the graduation studio Intermediate Size III

Collective research: the reciprocal relationship between architecture and various infrastructural networks

Dwaalspoor | Hester van Haalen:
architectural interventions in the intermediate of the railroad at the Spaanse Bocht, Rotterdam

Kweekvleesfabriek | Jørgen Hemesath: architectural design for a cultured meat factory along the tracks near the Feyenoord Stadium, Rotterdam

Perspective program The focus of another graduation studio was on the exploration of spaces between the port of Rotterdam and adjacent neighborhoods. Historical research has shown that the morphological cohesion between the port and the neighboring residential areas has decreased. As a result of the ever-growing scale of modern port areas, the spatial relationship between the city and the Meuse river has decreased incrementally and has increasingly been determined by diffuse intermediate spaces with varying functional characteristics; industrial, recreational, indefinite, etc. In this graduation studio, attempts have been made to reprogram (former) port areas in close proximity to the city center (housing, urban facilities, etc.). Another approach pertained to the breaking open of (mono) functional port areas by way of implementing contrasting program. Examples of this are 1) the addition of cultural facilities (cultural center, etc.) in areas dominated by industrial production (e.g. Shell refinery); 2) strengthening recreational landscapes through new spatial connections, (e.g. De Langtong, Binnenspuikanaal, Maasvlakte) or 3) by the addition of “foreign” program (such as a datacenter). Functions that are usually situated at anonymous locations outside the scope of the city, but could also function as iconic objects co-determining the identity of the city.

Selection of results from the graduation studio Intermediate Size IV

Collective research: the increasing disentaglement of the city of Rotterdam and its port

DATAPOLIS | Justin Agyin: architectural design for a datacenter in the Meuse river as part of an urban intervention at Katendrecht, Rotterdam

Breaking the Shell or New Petrylon | Lennart Arpots: a podium as seedling, introducing cultural facilities and activities at Shell Pernis, Rotterdam

Perspective time – In the two studios described before, the focus of the research was primarily on the spatial (form and appearance), programmatic (use and identity) and scenic (recreation and entertainment) dimensions of intermediate spaces. In the most recent graduation studio, the term “intermediate” is linked to the dimension of time. The starting point was formed by Georg Simmel’s hypothesis of the growing speed of urban experiences and impressions to which the individual is increasingly subjected. The central question of the studio is therefore whether it would be possible to come up with “slow” intermediary spaces that, due to their specific characteristics, create space for the individual to escape the ever-increasing turnover rate of external stimuli, albeit only temporarily. A second approach is based on the hypothesis that with an ever-increasing speed of (technical, cultural, economic, ideological) stimuli, the individual (but also society) tends to repress (by forgetting). The individual does this biographically (not to derail mentally / Simmel’s concept of blasé); society does this historically to sort the increasing stimuli (from both past and present) and especially to accept (and reproduce) those stimuli that are expected to have a positive effect (social cohesion based on a shared identity, solidarity and connectedness).

Selection of results from the graduation studio Intermediate Size VII

Individual research | Jolien Hermans: exploration of influence of architecture on the experience of time

Individual research | Roy van Gool: study of the effect of stairs to instigate a perceived slowing down of time

tijdruimteIntermediate Size – Perspectives