The Intermediate Size – Like Bijlsma & Jochem Groenland
Intermediate SizeGraduation Studio, ongoing
The Intermediate Size: from 1.0 to 2.0
‘The Intermediate Size: A handbook for collective dwellings’ was published in 2006. The book mainly focused on exploring premodern building and plot typologies of collective plots and multi-family housing. From various architectural analyses and typological studies the presence of an intermediate size could be deduced from the premodern examples. This intermediate size is able to mediate between the scale of the house and its direct urban context, and also has a number of typological characteristics, such as the interweaving of the respective units within the multi-family dwelling, as well as, the interweaving of these units as a whole within the context of the city. Furthermore, the intermediate size was considered as a meaningful social domain between the private units of the multi-family dwelling and the adjacent public space, which allowed for collective acts to develop. Collective in the sense of specific spatial qualities, rather than collective as a term linked to socially desirable behavioral norms.
New insights – Over the past three years, several graduation studios have been set up within the UUA chair (Urbanism and Urban Architecture) in which the concepts of intermediate space and scale have been further explored. The content of the book had formed an important basic source, however from the outset, the studios were intended to critically re-read the concept of the intermediate – as discussed in the book – and to broadly explore other meanings of the term. To do so, a number of substantive parameters that were central in the original book, have been altered in the process. In the new explorations, attention has, for instance, shifted the small scale to the large scale; from the scale of architecture to the scale of the city. Hence, characteristics of intermediate size(s) at large have been researched and no longer specifically intermediate sieze(s) on the scale of the collective house and its immediate urban context, but rather on the scale of the neighborhood, the borough and even the city as a whole. This has resulted in a number of new perspectives on the intermediate.
How to continue – In retrospect, the term “intermediate” has continuously been expanded and reapproached in order to arrive at different intrinsic meanings of the term. This approach has certainly provided new perspectives on its diverse scope; spatial, programmatic, biographical and historical. However, this openness could only be achieved by limiting (and even eliminating) strict and classifying parameters. Viewed in this way, each project constitutes a specific translation of an intermediary phenomenon without the (impossible) ambition of creating a coherently ordered ‘reference work’, as was the case for the first book that could be considered Intermediate Size 1.0. However, in dealing with the various meanings of the “intermediate” it has become clear that intermediate spaces cannot only be approached on the basis of one exploratory (typological) set of instruments and as such requires a reevaluation of the findings of the original book, which could potentially lead to a second book: Intermediate Size 2.0.