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Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated Knowledge: The Architects' Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf
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ARCHITECTURE AND CULTURE Klaske Havik Chair of Methods&Analysis, TU Delft, The Netherlands email@example.com Dorina Pllumbi Chair of Methods&Analysis, TU Delft, The Netherlands D.Pllumbi@tudelft.nl Keywords: urban commoning, Urban Commoning and Architectural NDSM Amsterdam, architectural knowledge, users, process, collective Situated Knowledge: The Architects’ Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf, Amsterdam Klaske Havik and Dorina Pllumbi Volume 8/Issue 2 June 2020 pp 289–308 ABSTRACT This article discusses the collaborative processes behind DOI:10.1080/20507828. 2020.1766305 the redevelopment of the Dutch state heritage ship wharf NDSM in Amsterdam as a case of urban commoning that took place around the No potential conflict of year 2000 – before the term became commonly used in urban studies. interest was reported It explores how the former shipwharf was transformed into an by the author. “incubator”: a creative hub with artist studios, theater spaces, a © 2020 The Author(s). skate park and other facilities for cultural production. In this article, Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & we specifically investigate the role of architects in this context. Francis Group Unfolding the process reveals the emergence of the figure of the par- This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of ticipant-architect who participates in the shared authorship, within a the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- collective situated knowledge. This knowledge is simultaneously pro- NoDerivatives License (http:// duced in the place and productive of the place. creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in 1. Introduction: Creating Common Ground any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, 1.1. Common ground: a former ship wharf in Amsterdam as terrain to and is not altered, transformed, explore collaborative urban practices or built upon in any way. This article discusses the collaborative processes that were involved in the redevelopment of the Dutch state heritage ship wharf NDSM in 290 Amsterdam with a particular focus on the role of architects in this project. We argue that the NDSM redevelopment was an instance of Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated urban commoning before the term was coined in 2012. In the first section Knowledge: The Architects’ of this article, we will discuss this process to transform the ship wharf Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf, into an “incubator”: a creative hub with artist studios, theater spaces, a Amsterdam skate park and other facilities for cultural production. This process of Klaske Havikand and Dorina Pllumbi redevelopment, which started in the late 1990s, differed in several ways from conventional heritage redevelopment practices. It was initiated by a group of users with roots in the local counterculture and it was supported by the municipality that recognized the potential of this group: a shared symbiotic route. For this reason, it has become emblematic of a cooperative form of redevelopment. The second part of this article reflects on the contribution of architects to several parts of the project. Although NDSM has been widely discussed because of its experimental character, there has been less reflection on the role of architectural knowledge and practice in the process. In the third section, we describe the negotiation of decision- making and the spatial organization of the site. Finally, in the concluding section, we argue that in the NDSM case, architects were developing new ways to offer expertise while being participants of the collective process, they were balancing multiple positions, as expert, participant, maker and facilitator. This article thus aims to formulate how such “commoning processes” generate alternative roles for architects. We will argue that these new collaborative processes challenge the discipline and practice of architecture to reconsider its theories, methods and tools, and to incorporate new concepts, additional skills and “ways of doing.” 1.2. Methodology: being in the midst of the practice of commoning Interviews with the architects involved in the project are central to this study as our aim is to understand how the practice of architecture was involved in the complex processes at NDSM. As researchers, we have been in the exceptional position of being both insiders and observers of the process. One of the authors of this article was involved as an architect in the process of the NDSM transformation, as part of architecture studio De Ruimte in 2000-2004. This kind of involvement in the process enables us to reflect on the experience of the architectural process first-hand, to be in the midst of the practice. For this article, we have revisited the site regularly in the period 2016-2018, and we have spoken with some of the main initiators of the process, including a number of initial and actual users of the space, and some of the other architects involved in the process of transformation. This study thus relies on these participant’s retrospective reflections on their experiences of the process. Crucially, the participants were situated in the place at different times during the transformation process, so their experiences were necessarily different. The varied experiential knowledge 291 of these different actors is then combined with a thorough analysis of reports, archival images and websites relating to the NDSM site. It is important to emphasize that this article is not about claiming the role of the architects in a process that is recognized as bottom-up and spontaneous. Instead, it is about understanding and learning from the experience of architect’s who were part of the process, not driving it, but contributing their knowledge to a collective process. In the NDSM transformation, the multiple architects involved were in the midst of it, acting in a relational agency with an amalgam of actors and the site itself. Here, architecture was not a practice that resulted in a product, instead it was part of a trajectory “in the making.” In recognition of the large, dynamic collection of actors involved in this process we have combined the situated knowledge of architects who experienced the process, with materials published on NDSM, and voices of initiators, makers and users of the space. It is an ongoing process, which was and continues to be, subject to multiple developmental and commercial pressures. The multi-perspectival nature of our sources is crucial to understanding the complexity of the transformation of the NDSM area of the last twenty years. 1.3. Initiative: entering from the front door Amsterdam North is a peculiar part of the city, with particular socio- economic dynamics, and its own character and identity. Industrial activity at the NDSM ended in 1984. It became stigmatized as a poor neighborhood populated by immigrants and former labourers from the now defunct shipping industry. “For a long time, the area was home to much that the city of Amsterdam did not want, from medieval gallows field to squatter caravan sites, polluting chemical and shipbuilding industries and a glut of disadvantaged people.” It was poorly connected to the rest of the city; even the central station - which initially was designed as the end limit of Amsterdam City- seemed to turn its back to the North. In the 1990s the former industrial area at the Northern part of the IJ-river in Amsterdam was appropriated by the city’s squatting scene. For over forty years squatters had been moving along the Southern banks of the IJ river due to development and rising costs in the city. While these squatted areas were often perceived as dark “underground” parts of the city, they were also sites for the flourishing alternative art scene that lent the city an aura of spontaneity and vibrancy. At the point at which the northern part of the river was squatted, the municipality changed its approach to squatting in the city; many squats were evicted, but at the same time the municipality also started to acknowledge the potential of these underground hubs, and a new policy called “breeding places” was born to support and legalize such initiatives. It is within this context that an unconventional negotiation began between a group from the squat movement and the municipality. The group of people from the squatting scene approached the NDSM wharf in 292 Amsterdam North, but instead of squatting, this time they wanted “to enter from the front door.” In 1999, the municipality initiated a Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated competition for cultural entrepreneurs to come with proposals for the Knowledge: The Architects’ development of the former ship wharf NDSM. The foundation Kinetisch Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf, Noord, which derived from the countercultural scene in Amsterdam, Amsterdam developed an extensive plan to transform the former ship wharf into a Klaske Havikand and Dorina Pllumbi vibrant hub for artists, theater makers, skaters and other makers. They collaborated with several architects, who had also been involved in the squatting scene, together they developed the competition plan for the new use of the ship-wharf. They approached the spatial organization as a city within the shell of the ship wharf building, with different zones for the various gradations of publicness. For instance, there was an open framework that would offer space for artist studios in the middle of the building. The plan won the competition and Kinetisch Noord started the process of turning the NDSM wharf into a cultural “Breeding Place” (Figure 1). 2. Levels of Architectural Contribution in the Creation of the Commons 2.1. Commons Avant-la-lettre: Spatiality as Common Knowledge The collaborative design process of the NDSM wharf can be situated within the emerging theoretical discourse of the “commons.” From this perspective, the NDSM can be regarded as a place that draws attention to the common dimension of architecture, as a shared language, knowledge, vocabulary and grammar, created, accumulated and enriched in time. In his reflections on the theme of Common Ground of the Venice Biennale 2012, curator David Chipperfield, argued for a good architecture that is not only for the privileged; he explained that the theme of Common Ground “asks us to think about the physical expression of our collective aspirations and those of the society, and to remind us to consider our shared history, to think about the collaborative nature of architecture and the extraordinary potential of its collective process.” Some twelve years before Chipperfield’s statement in Venice, the NDSM redevelopment was a project with such a collaborative nature. Thus, the NDSM project pre- dated the use of the term “commons” in architectural debate. The mainstream architectural scene in the Netherlands at the time was more preoccupied with the economic boom and the success of the “Superdutch” architects that gained worldwide fame for their bold architectural statements. In contrast, the NDSM transformation did not involve star-architects, instead they worked with relatively young and unknown architects who had already been involved in several processes to legalize squats in The Hague and Amsterdam. They moved away from a strict client-architect relationship, to a more collaborative practice, in which the architects were participants and co-initiators, and the clients were co-designers. Retrospectively, we can regard this alternative architectural approach as an early manifestation of an architecture of urban commoning. 293 Figure 1 The NDSM wharf in Amsterdam North. Concrete ramp and the shipwharf building, Photo by Klaske Havik, 2003. In the NDSM ship wharf, the notion of the commons can be understood in two ways. First, the new use of the site was intended to create a place for people who were already using the site, for makers, artists, immigrants, and newcomers. It was not a place for profit, but a place for communities to thrive. Second, instead of being commissioned by the state or the market, the redevelopment of the NDSM wharf was initiated as a collaborative venture, with complex groups composed of citizens, public and private actors. The initiating group Kinetisch Noord derived from the IJ Industrial Buildings Guild, which brought together communities of artists and squatters who had established their studios in former industrial buildings along the IJ-river in Amsterdam. They proposed, in one of their books “De Stad als Casco” an urban strategy that would leave space for the participation of users as active actors in spatial development projects (Figure 2). The group’s previous experience of the repeated process of squatting, eviction, urban cleaning and masterplan development that had happened at the other banks of the IJ river, equipped them with knowledge to negotiate with other parties interested in developing this dilapidated area of the city. A number of the key spatial concepts for the project had already been formulated. Important references were “Support and Infill” theory of John Habraken, the participatory projects experiments of Lucien Kroll, the research of “no plan” and “freedom of the individual” of Yona Friedman. This grounding in architectural knowledge and theory gave Kinetisch Noord confidence in their plan. These foundational architectural concepts were intensively discussed in both philosophical and spatial terms in a series of workshops, which were organized to further develop the competition proposal in 294 Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated Knowledge: The Architects’ Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf, Amsterdam Klaske Havikand and Dorina Pllumbi Figure 2 Publications of the IJ Industrial Buildings Guild, Photo by Mark van den Brink, with courtesy of Eva de Klerk. Figure 3 Moments from the construc- tion workshops, Photo cour- tesy of Filip Bosscher. collaboration with the users (Figure 3). One of the crucial tasks in the early discussions was to incorporate multiple voices in the space-creation process. With the initiators, a diverse collective of architects and thinkers took part in this explorative stage of the development plan. Together with the activists and artists, these architects were part of the collective dream, contributing to its realization in different stages of the process. Their work was influenced by some local architects who advocated alternative ways of doing architecture for communities. Filip Bosscher, the philosopher-architect who guided the workshops that were to materialize the complex process of space conceptualization, states: “After a while, I realized that my task was 295 much more how to invent a system of thinking and working in such a way that all the artists would love doing this. We also had a lot of fun, we could work constructively, also make choices and come up with formulation that everyone would agree upon.” The methodology used for the workshops was based on activities identified as observation-association-concept. Observation consisted in looking for the qualities present in the building. The rough and monumental aesthetics of the ship wharf was the main starting point. The light, the height, the floor, the rail lines, and the existing structure were all elements to be preserved and appraised. The association phase connected these elements of value with aspirations and desires of the group, as well as with artistic and architectural theories. For example, the highest part of the building was a mystical space, referred to as the Cathedral. The concepts resulted from merging the qualities of the building with the developed association. The role of the architectural references was crucial during the workshops. One of the key examples of a project that develops with time was the Ecokathedraal of Louis le Roy in the North of the Netherlands. As a critique of the rigidity of city planning, Le Roy made a new environment by simply constructing piles of stones, giving time and nature the task to create a unique experience. Inspired by this interweaving of the power of art and nature, the group “understood that it was not needed to do that much. It was simply a matter of co-acting.” According to Bosscher, this reference also helped to understand that a process like this needs time to come to life organically. The ideas of the Situationists International, particularly the New Babylon project by the Dutch artist Constant Nieuwenhuys, also served as an example in the early phase of the project. This concept was embraced by the group because it offered a sense of freedom that allowed them to “think of spaces and structures without anyone to be in charge of everything.” These collectively shared references also strengthened the idea that there was no need for one single architect “that would design everything.” Instead, there was a need for and explicit “common set of rules.” Indeed, having these references in common, the architects agreed that architecture could serve as mediator among multiple voices. This was based on an understanding of architecture that was far removed from the obsession with authorship and branding that dominated Dutch architectural culture around the year 2000. In the case of the NDSM wharf project, the architects were working collectively in various roles, in different parts of the project, which made it difficult to claim authorship. Ideas, visions, references and forms were developed in an organic and collective manner. As participants of the project, the architects were merged in the process and interfused their ideas and inspirations with those of the initiators’ group of artists and makers. 296 2.2. Commons in the making: materialization of a collective idea The story of NDSM, its design and realization, is an example of the Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated process of mediating between experimentation, users wishes, Knowledge: The Architects’ architectural ideas and formal and technical requirements. The notion of Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf, the commons materializes here as collective human and non-human Amsterdam encounters. The design process was facilitated through construction Klaske Havikand and Dorina Pllumbi workshops which further explored ways to intervene in space. The program was created in common, dividing the ship wharf in multiple programmatic clusters according to the expected user activities, while leaving some areas open to accommodate future activities. This zoning was not only based on the existing qualities of the building, but also on the different gradations of publicness of the different programs, and the extent to which these would attract varied audiences. Different atmospheres could emerge within the project. The co-generated design, on the one hand, offered room for experimentation and differences, and on the other hand, maintained a bold architectural language. Because of its monumentality and spatial quality, the wharf building played a protagonist role. This way, the wharf entered in relational human-non- human commoning practice. From these encounters the spatial configuration materialized as an example of architectural commons (Figures 4–6). The West Wing of the ship wharf building, Sectie 4, was dedicated to youth activities like a Skatepark, a climbing wall, and a music and dance center. In the North Wing a square, restaurant and tower for exhibitions and information were imagined. The middle part of the ship wharf building was dedicated to the art village that consisted of a steel frame within which individuals or clusters could build their own space for work. The East Wing was dedicated to theater production groups. Other clusters included the former office buildings and some other initiatives on the terrain (Figure 4). While the NDSM project was shaped largely by users’ initiative, the architects involved offered their professional knowledge to guide the project. For instance, architects had the task of translating “the building projects of the users into a building permit application.” Alongside the experimental nature of the project, it also had to fit within the existing frame of the building legislation rules and meet requirements regarding safety regulations and other conditions to obtain the necessary building permits. Solutions for fire-safety were developed, such as a grid of fire curtains to divide the building into compartments in case of fire; innovative ideas for the climate in the big ship wharf building included the use of hot water from the central system of the city for the heating system of the ateliers. Although in these aspects the project relied on the professional knowledge of architects, it remained a collective initiative in which people’s roles alternated and architects supported and participated in all aspects of the design phrases. At some moments the users drove the design and the architects were supporters, while at other 297 Figure 4 Schematic ground and first floor, Drawing by Dorina Pllumbi, 2018. Figure 5 Kunststad (Art Village), Photo by Dorina Pllumbi, 2017. 298 Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated Knowledge: The Architects’ Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf, Amsterdam Klaske Havikand and Dorina Pllumbi Figure 6 Pathways second floor Kunststad (Art Village), Photo by Dorina Pllumbi, 2017. moments the architects were more prominently in charge because of technical, planning and legislation requirements. For instance, the design of the middle part of the ship-wharf building, the Kunststad (the Art Village) had a high involvement of the users especially in the realization phase. Many of the spaces embody the concept of commons in their program and design, particularly the middle part of the ship-wharf. Inspired by John Habraken’s “support and infill,” the Art Village consists of a steel structure that works as a frame, which allows the users to build their ateliers, offices, and workshops (Figure 5). This framework gives space for individual expressions. The Art Village can be seen as the incarnation of the De Stad Als Casco method, which sees casco as “a broader notion than just a building structure. It covers all sources of collective agreements that at the same time gives significance to the individual part, the one that the users themselves realize.” The Kunststad is an expression of a marriage between the collective need to be part of a community, and the individual need to have a personalized space. The collective part, the framework, is designed in common, while the individual part elicits the creativity of the users. Within the construction of the steel structure, the users were free to create their own space (Figure 6). The myriad of different expressions is materialized in the Kunststad with each of the cubicles having their own character, while being part of a wider structure that embraces these individualities. All together the units create a collage of juxtaposed materials, colors, compositions, names, provocations. The streets, corresponding to the light sheds of the wharf building, are communal places furnished by sittings, left-over materials, or pieces of artworks on the making. The art village is a place of freedom of material expression (Figure 6). The skatepark was meant to be part of a larger youth center containing other functions such as music and dance studio’s and facilities for climbing. The architects designed the skate park as a platform, 299 raised 7,5 m above the floor of the ship wharf building, to give space underneath for the other intended functions of the imagined youth center. On that high square, supported by big laminated wooden beams, the skaters, who had the strong desire to build and transform their own skate ramps and routes, had their own domain. On one of the sides of the platform there was a long narrow building. This 70 m long and 3 m wide “Tube” accommodated the skatepark’s facilities such as dressing rooms and office, a bar, a first aid room and a workshop space where the skaters could build their wooden ramps. With the open space and the workshop facilities, the skaters were thus offered the possibility to decide on their own the spatial organization of the ramps and other skate objects; it produced a skate-landscape that could change over time. The architects wanted to enable the group of skaters to develop a sense of ownership of the space, to the extent that the skaters felt that they created the skate park themselves. Therefore, the architects made use of relatively neutral cladding material for the side-building to allow the skaters to cover it with graffiti and in this way appropriate the space as their own. Thus, there was a concern to find a balance between providing a strong architectural gesture and enabling the users to design their own space, allowing the level of freedom that the skaters were aiming for (Figures 7 and 8). The start of the NDSM transformation process was an unconventional moment when it was possible for the municipality (the conventional body of power) and a group of artists and activists coming from the squat movement, to meet somewhere in-between and find new ways to collaborate in making the city. This new momentum activated a willingness to engage in what Bauman would call: to be in the “mood to experiment.” The story of NDSM speaks of the presence of this experimental condition. In Spinozian terms, it is the story of the production of a Figure 7 Section Skate park, ©Drawing by Architecture studio de Ruimte. 300 Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated Knowledge: The Architects’ Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf, Amsterdam Klaske Havikand and Dorina Pllumbi Figure 8 Skate park, elevated plat- form with on left hand side the “tube”, ©photo Jannes Linders 2005. collective space through the agency of the power of a multitude – ex- squatters, different users – which was recognized as such by the sovereign power – the municipality. The NDSM project was neither a typical capitalist redevelopment of a creative district, nor a typical instance of anarchist squatting action; it was a process in which diverse agents of power met and worked together. Such a complex process of development, which involved the many, with different motives and incentives, raises the question of how the architects were positioned within this amalgam of actors? What is their role as “experts” in relation to activists, in relation to users, and other participants of the transformation process? How did their position change, compared to the conventional client-oriented architectural practice? 3. Meeting Differences: Struggles for Space There is currently a global radical re-thinking of the political and ethical role of the architectural profession. Discussions about “the right to the city,” which are part of political ideological clashes, are emphasizing the notion of “the commons.” Looking for alternatives beyond the state and the market, groups of people are experimenting with new forms of “commoning.” In Architecture and Participation, Blundell Jones, Petrescu and Till discuss the complex politics of participation and the risks and uncertainty that such processes involve. They point to “the contested conditions of participatory process, its conflictual possibilities and unpredictable nature.” The NDSM process encountered such conditions and was characterized by complex processes of negotiation between the different interest groups and their diverging expectations. From the very 301 beginning the founders of Kinetisch Noord were aware that the project – which was initially formulated as a temporary project – would become a catalyst for commercialization and commodification of this area in the city. They knew already that “they would be used” to change the character of the area, and they accepted that condition in order to have the support from the municipality. The help and support offered came with a price to be paid. With this awareness in mind the group of initiators of Kinetisch Noord was committed to creating an open community that could accommodate the different interest groups involved in the project. They had to negotiate their freedom, risking that spontaneity and the bottom-up philosophy would suffer from this social assemblage of power and interests. This negotiation process explains how the NDSM cultural wharf, which started as a temporary project, continues to exist some twenty years after the start of its re-development. The project went through a long process of resistance, clashes of ideologies, struggles for power and pressure of the market. There were different attempts through visions, masterplans and managerial bodies to intervene in the negotiation process. Initially, Kinetisch Noord were granted a degree of power and freedom to act, which created an illusion of autonomy; then as the project continued there was a gradual shrinking of this autonomy. Despite these limits placed on Kinetisch Noord the commercial and municipal partners did acknowledge and recognize that the presence of the collective could keep alive the spirit and atmosphere of this rough and bohemian area. The spirit of collectivity and openness of NDSM is currently at risk from further development plans. There is a ten-year preservation plan but after that time, the fate of the area is unknown. At its origin, the redevelopment of NDSM wharf area aspired to create an area of openness, indeterminacy, tolerance, and negotiation. Architecture was the material dimension of this negotiation. Despite the threats it faces, the free and experimental spirit of the early years of NDSM continue to be represented in the open framework of the Art Village and the neutrality of the platform of the skatepark that allows for different uses. 4. Urban Commoning in Practice: Emerging Roles for Architects Today, the highly debated concept of the commons can be recognized in the spatial and material configuration of the NDSM ship-wharf building. Architecture is often seen as representation of dominant ideologies, but architecture is also capable of resistance. The unconventional process at NDSM thus have consequences for the methods and tools of architecture. In such “commoning” processes, the architect is challenged to find new ways of operating: not as a single author, responding to a clearly defined client, but as a mediator in a complex collaborative process of development. The task of the architect is to respond not only to spatial 302 and material, but also to social questions. In order to enter into dialogue with different social groups, architects need to adopt and develop their Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated tools and roles and find a new common language to facilitate the Knowledge: The Architects’ production of space. Commoning offers a different lens with which to look Role in the Transformation of the NDSM Ship Wharf, at architecture. Through this lens, architecture is not just a physical Amsterdam entity designed to last, but a process of continuous spatial Klaske Havikand and Dorina Pllumbi transformation, which encompasses power struggles and accommodates continuous tensions, diverse ambitions and initiatives. Architecture becomes a collective situated knowledge, that is spatially productive. It is this situatedness that has the power to co-create a place toward which every participant develops a sense of ownership. The process of redevelopment of NDSM was an experiment with uncertainties. From the beginning, the powers and roles of different actors were questioned. These roles were unconventional throughout the whole process, as they kept on shifting in time and are still partially unclear today. The process was a challenge and an opportunity to experiment with new ways of using architectural knowledge as part of commoning processes. The architectural contribution was part of the process in different levels, in the conceptualization phase, in the co- designing phase and in the technical and co-building phase. This contribution is recognized by the users and the activists, even if never discussed explicitly in reports, documents or articles on NDSM. Existing accounts of the project foreground the passionate involvement of the users to create and “make their own city.” However, as we have shown in this text, the users and activists did rely on architectural knowledge in each of the consecutive phases of the process. There was a reciprocal exchange of influence, in which the architects influenced the users and vice-versa; the spatial configuration and its materialization was the medium through which this influence took place. The first architects involved in the NDSM project were oriented toward facilitating a process: the project was the user’s dream materializing in space. The aura of collectiveness that was created and spread around the activism of the group was appealing, and the architects were responding not to one single client, but to a complex multitude of professionals, users and artists that had various wishes and ideas. The architects were thus an active part of the process that included multiple voices, and one of the tasks of the architect was to facilitate these different voices, and to mediate between them. The role of the architect as a participant enabled a direct process of collaboration within the group. In these conditions of being participant-architects, the authorship of the project, like the ownership of the place itself, was uncertain and negotiable: the architects were almost anonymous in the publicity around the project, which foregrounded the role of the users. Today, NDSM is becoming more institutionalized, losing a bit of its spontaneous charm. Meanwhile, a new momentum for the architectural 303 discipline can be observed. It resonates to the themes that were addressed in the NDSM project. More attention is given to the collective and community architectural practices. Other ways of experimenting with collaborative architectural processes have popped up in Amsterdam North, inspired indeed by the changes which started at the NDSM. From the case of Amsterdam Noord we learn that there can be a moment of acceptance from diverse ideological sides, and that a common language can be developed. For the architectural domain, it is relevant to see and reflect upon this architectural involvement in a collective process, to see how this experiment with different kinds of architectural practice influenced an alternative way of doing architecture. What emerged clearly from our conversations with activists, users, and architects was that the role of the architectural expertise, and other conventionally established roles, was ambiguous from the very beginning in this experimental process. In a highly complex case like NDSM, there has been frequent and continuous turn over of the people involved, including the architects. Multiple architects were involved at different stages of the process and they played different roles. Their contribution to the project was significant, from the philosophical and theoretical conceptualization of the space that would support and accommodate the ideals of the activists and users; to the facilitation of the design process, and the technical support during the building process. The architectural knowledge was not imposed, but it was merged with the expectations and the aspirations of the groups, for instance through the workshops and discussions in which theories and approaches regarding open building and participatory architecture were shared. Ultimately, the role of the architects was to be a mediator, to create a common language among different actors involved, and to provide basic but characteristic structures upon which users could add their own interventions, be it the walls and doors of their ateliers or the obstacles in the skate park. We can conclude that the case of NDSM shows the emergence of the figure of the participant-architect, of a shared authorship in the project in the presence of a collective situated knowledge produced and productive in the place and for the place. Klaske Havik holds the Chair of Methods & Analysis of Architecture at Delft University of Technology the Netherlands. She has developed a distinct research approach relating the experience and use of architecture and urban space to literary language, resulting in her book Urban Literacy. Reading and Writing Architecture (2014). Other recent publications include Architectural Positions: Architecture, Modernity and the Public Sphere (2009), Writingplace. Investigations in Architecture and Literature (2016), and “Writing Atmopsheres,” in Charley (ed), Research Companion to Architecture, Literature and the City (London: Routledge, 2018). Havik is editor of the architecture journals OASE, and Writingplace 304 journal for Architecture & Literature. As a practicing architect, Havik has been involved in the redevelopment of ship wharf NDSM in Amsterdam. In Urban Commoning and Architectural Situated recent years, Klaske Havik has worked with her students on the topic of Knowledge: The Architects’ the “commons” in Europe as well as in the Latin-American context, Role in the Transformation of teaching studios in Bogota , Colombia and Valpara ıso, Chile. the NDSM Ship Wharf, Amsterdam Klaske Havikand and Dorina Pllumbi is an architect and researcher. She has engaged in Dorina Pllumbi teaching and research at the Polytechnic University of Tirana and Sapienza University of Rome. Currently she is affiliated to the chair of Methods and Analysis, Department of Architecture TU Delft, where she is developing her PhD research entitled “Commonplace in the making: an architectural perspective.” Through this research she aims to elaborate an architectural perspective on the question of the commons, to explore emerging situations and to reflect upon the limits and potentials that architecture has to engage in urban commoning, through facilitating, initiating or learning from them. Dorina has practiced the architectural profession in several projects in collaboration with other professionals. She is constantly engaged in urban activism. ORCID Klaske Havik http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6059-8521 Dorina Pllumbi http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6805-4975 Notes 1. Nishat Awan,Tatjana Schneider, and 6. Counting from the moment of the Jeremy Till, Spatial Agency: Other Ways of competition for cultural entrepreneurship Doing Architecture (London: at the NDSM wharf, in 1999. Routledge, 2011). 7. Merijn Oudenampsen, “Amsterdam North: 2. As part of architecture studio de Ruimte, Dream of a Socially Engineered Society,” Klaske Havik was one of the architects of in Waterfront Visions Transformations in the Skatepark. In the first phase of the North Amsterdam, ed. Huib van der Werf, NDSM project, studio de Ruimte Kate Orff, Merijn Oudenampsen, and consisted of Iris Schutten, Iris de Kievith Klaske Havik (Amsterdam: NAi Uitgevers, and Sebastiaan Veldhuisen, who 2009), 27–42. participated in the competition team in 8. Klaske Havik, “Monotony and Diversity at 1999. They developed, with Marc Labadie the IJ-Banks” Gentrification, Flows and and Kapriool, the proposal for the spatial Counter-Flows, OASE 73 (2009): 129–137. organization of the ship-wharf and the 9. Panu Lehtovuori and Klaske Havik, terrain. In the phase of the skatepark “Alternative Politics in Urban Innovation,” in (2001–2004), which was designed by Creative Economies, Creative Cities: Asian- European Perspectives,ed. Justin O’Connor studio de Ruimte, Klaske Havik and Job and Lily Kong (Dordrecht: Springer, 2009), Nieman, had joined the team. 3. Erin Manning, The Minor Gesture (Durham 207–225 explain how in Netherlands, local and London: Duke University Press, authorities of several cities have created 2016), 1–45. Breeding Place Policy as a tool to create 4. Ibid. alliances with creative groups of local sub- 5. Tim Ingold, Making: Anthropology, cultural scene with the purpose of Archaeology, Art and Architecture (New triggering creative atmospheres in marginal York: Routledge, 2013). areas of these cities. 10. The movement of countercultural groups and artists from twelve previously 305 from one industrial building to the other squatted buildings on the IJ. Their goal as a result of gentrification process that was and is to counteract the cultural started around the ‘80s, has been depletion of Amsterdam in a constructive referred to as IJ in Motion. These groups way.” Extracted from the introduction of were first located at the JAVA and the Guild of Industrial Buildings along the KNSM Island, then they moved towards river IJ on the website of Eva de Klerk. the western part of the harbor at the http://www.evadeklerk.com/en/het-gilde- Silodam. See also Havik, “Monotony and van-werkgebouwen-aan-het-ij/ Diversity at the IJ-Banks,” 129–137 (op 17. The grouphad expressedtheir ideas in two publications, the international cit note 8). 11. Eva de Klerk (initiator Kinetisch Noord), collection of case studies: Bert Hogervorst in conversation with the authors, and Peti Buchel, Turning Tide: The Users November 19, 2015. Role in the Redevelopment of Harbour 12. Kinetisch Noord was initiated by Eva de Buildings in North-West Europe/ Het Klerk, Hessel Dokkum and kerend tij, de rol van de gebruiker bij de Jaap Draaisma. herontwikkeling van havenpanden in 13. Marc Labadie, Architecture studio de Noord-West Europa (Amsterdam: The IJ Ruimte (Iris Schutten, Iris de Kievith and Industrial Buildings Guild, De Sebastiaan Veldhuisen), and Appelbloesempers, 1997), and the more Kapriool architects. local manifesto Podium Werken aan het 14. Milica Topalovic, Ana Dzokic, and Marc IJ, De Stad als Casco: Manifest Neelen. AmsterdamNoord.tmp:Urban (Amsterdam: De Appelbloesempers, 1997). Catalyst at Amsterdam Noord 18. Eva de Klerk, Make Your City. De Stad (Amsterdam: Stealth, 2002), is a report Als Caso. The City as a Shell. NDSM-Werf that documents temporary urban NDSM Shipyard Amsterdam (Amsterdam: activities ongoing in several European trancityxvaliz, 2017). cities the area during 2002–2003. 19. Some of the concepts were explored Amsterdam Noord is one of the case already through the active engagement studies pictured in this research called of some of the involved architects in European Research Urban Catalyst. earlier squatting practices in Available Online: http://www.stealth.ultd. Amsterdam and The Hague. Architects net/stealth/projects/03_amsterdamn Hein de Haan and Filip Boscher oord.tmp/download/book_1.pdf. http:// provided the Amsterdam squatting www.stealth.ultd.net/stealth/projects/ scene with professional input for the re- 03_amsterdamnoord.tmp/download/ use of industrial buildings. The book_2.pdf architects of De Ruimte were involved in 15. David Chipperfield, Kieran Long and projects in the squatting scene in the Shumi Bose, eds., Common Ground: A Hague and Amsterdam. They had Critical Reader (Venice: Marsilio Editori, published about their ideas on “open 2012). For the 13th International architecture” in: Architecture studio de Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Ruimte: Iris Schutten, Iris de Kievith, Venezia, Peter Carl, Pier Vittorio Aureli, and Sebas Veldhuisen, Wilder wonen & Mark Wigley, Teresa Stoppani share this verder bouwen (EN: Wild Living and position in this collection of essays. Building Further) (Den Haag: De 16. “The Gilde van Werkgebouwen aan het Ruimte, 1999) IJ (the Guild of Industrial Buildings along 20. N. John Habraken, Supports: An the river IJ) was founded in 1993 in Alternative to Mass Housing, 2nd ed. reaction to the project Manhattan aan het (Urban International Press, 1999). IJ: the large-scale redevelopment of the Klaske Havik, and Hans Teerds, “Define banks of the IJ by the city of Amsterdam and Let Go/An interview with John and a consortium of property developers Habraken,” Productive Uncertainty, and banks. The founders of Indeterminacy in Spatial Design, Planning the Gilde (abbreviation Industrial and Management, OASE 85, (2011): Buildings Guild) were the former residents 8–16; Yona Friedman and Manuel Orazi, 306 Yona Friedman: The Dilution of explains how these technical solutions Architecture, ed. Nader Seraj (Zurich: were elaborated by Dynamo architects. Urban Commoning and 33. The initial plan for the Kunststad was Park Books, 2015). Architectural Situated already part of the competition entry in 21. Rienke Enghardt, artist involved in the Knowledge: The Architects’ 1999. The design was further elaborated Role in the Transformation of designing workshops and building of the the NDSM Ship Wharf, in the collective workshops. The Kunststad, in conversation with Dorina Amsterdam technical elaboration and realization Pllumbi, February 6th, 2018. Klaske Havikand and was carried out by Dynamo architects. 22. Participants in these workshops were Dorina Pllumbi 34. Carolien Feldbrugge, “Het philosopher-architect Filip Bosscher, Werkgebouwengilde” (EN: Work Building Kapriool Architecten, Architecture studio Guild), transcript, Architecture studio de de Ruimte, Marc Labadie and Ruimte, Wilder wonen & verder bouwen Dynamo architects. (EN: Wild Living and Continuing to Build) 23. Hein de Haan, “Het Belang van (Den Haag: De Ruimte, 1999), 26–29. Woonwerkgebouwen” (EN: Living and 35. The Skate Park was intended to be part Working, Buildings of Importance), of a larger intervention “Sectie 4”, with transcript, Architecture studio de multiple functions for youth. Design and Ruimte: Schutten, de Kievith, and realization were done by Architecture Veldhuisen, Wilder wonen & verder studio de Ruimte (Iris Schutten, Iris de bouwen (EN: Wild Living and Building Kievith, Sebastiaan Veldhuisen, Klaske Further), 29–33. Havik and Job Nieman). 24. Filip Bosscher in conversation with 36. Zigmunt Bauman, “Has Citizenship a Dorina Pllumbi, February 23rd, 2018. Future?” Georg Foster Lecture 2014 25. Ibid. (Mainz: lecture, Johannes Gutenberg 26. Ibid. Universitat, € June 18, 2014). Bauman 27. Ibid. This point came out also during the considers that besides the difficulties, conversation with Rienke Enghardt. The there is a “mood to experiment” which Situationists International were as well a characterizes the contemporary strong reference for de Ruimte, who “interregnum” times. Available online: published about it in journal de Omslag https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= at TU Delft during their student years. elTOYIYp3Vc&feature=youtu.be, 28. Filip Bosscher in conversation with (accessed February 5, 2018). Dorina Pllumbi, February 23rd, 2018. 37. Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude: 29. Ibid. For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms 30. de Klerk, Make Your City. De Stad Als of Life. (Los Angeles: MIT Press 2009). Caso. The City as a Shell. NDSM-Werf Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, NDSM Shipyard Amsterdam. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age Eva de Klerk in conversation with the of Empire (New York, CA: The Penguin authors, November 19, 2015. De Klerk Press, 2004). emphasizes that the project was not 38. Egle Mykolaityte, “Renegotiating the exclusively about art, but about making Countercultural and Entrepreneurial Identity” (Mater thesis, University of space for craftsman, artisans, skaters, Amsterdam, 2013). besides theatre makers, designers, etc. 39. David Harvey, “The Right to the City.” She uses the term “makers” to New Left Review 53 (2008): 23–40. differentiate from Florida’s creative 40. Peter Blundel Jones, Doina Petrescu, class discourse. de Klerk, Make Your and Jeremy Till, Architecture and City. De Stad Als Caso. The City as a Participation (London/New York: Spon Shell. NDSM-Werf NDSM Press, 2005). Shipyard Amsterdam. 41. Topalovic, Dzokic, and Neelen. 31. de Klerk, Make Your City. De Stad Als Caso. AmsterdamNoord.tmp:Urban Catalyst at The City as a Shell. NDSM-Werf NDSM Amsterdam Noord: In an interview with Shipyard Amsterdam, 95. Urban Catalyst, de Klerk declared that 32. Filip Bosscher in conversation with the group knew they were going to be Dorina Pllumbi, February 23rd, 2018 used. Mykolaityte, “Renegotiating the whole commercial and soon residential 307 character developing now in the area. Countercultural and Entrepreneurial 45. de Klerk, Make Your City. De Stad Als Identity,” 51: The same was declared by Caso. The City as a Shell. NDSM-Werf an artist of the initial group: Caspar NDSM Shipyard Amsterdam. declared “we knew we were used from 46. Filip Bosscher in conversation with Dorina the very beginning.” Pllumbi, February 23rd, 2018. 42. Hogervorst, and Buchel, Turning Tide. 47. The last editions of the Venice Biennale Klaske Havik, “Strength & Vulnerability, have been oriented towards the social Creative Industrial Sites in the aspect of architecture. Especially 15th Netherlands,” MAJA Architectural Review Biennale “Reporting from the Front” and no. 2–3 (2005): 58–61. the actual 16th “Freespace” both are 43. Initiatives like BV Durf, Toekomst NDSM, part of a wave that intends to humanize Panorama Noord, Noord Lonkt! XXL the architectural involvement in Syndicate, De Vrije Ruimte, were urban the world. visions, masterplans or groups of 48. Practices like DUS or space&matter interest attempting to negotiate the have in the core of their philosophy future of NDSM. temporality, user’s involvement and 44. Kinetisch Noord owns the NDSM ship indeterminacy in design. www. wharf building but has only 5% of the houseofdus.com; www. shares in decision-making for the whole spaceandmatter.nl NDSM area, and they face the risk of becoming an isolated enclave in the References – Awan, Nishat, Tatjana Schneider, and Architecture, edited by Nader Seraj. Jeremy Till. 2011. Spatial Agency: Other Zurich: Park Books. – Habraken, N. John. 1999. 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Architecture and Culture – Taylor & Francis
Published: Apr 2, 2020
Keywords: urban commoning; NDSM Amsterdam; architectural knowledge; users; process; collective
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