Last years of continuous changes have taught us that many things are simply unpredictable. Functional or aesthetical durability is now measured not in decades or centuries but in several years periods to minimize cost of eventual defeat. New strategies of designing and planning are in trial stage. They need to fulfil all the needs here and now but in case of their revision easily disappear or transform. An example which is worth to follow is Marineterrein in Amsterdam.
Marineterrein is the East part of the Amsterdam city center, which was used by Dutch Royal Navy for almost 360 years and now gradually become a meaningful city district. This area is planned to be a place where entrepreneurs, academic and citizens of the world can easily meet, integrate and work together on innovative ideas and promote sustainable society, a place for art, start-ups and festivals. In a word – modern, innovative district, attractive for young people set up in historical location.
The history of this area is inseparably connected with military and harbour activities which declined at the beginning of XXI century and in 2013 renovation was necessary. Experiences from places such as described previously Bloemkoolwijk taught Dutch people the caution in designing on huge scale and in advance.
This area is designed gradually, step by step, with no final goal or a plan of functionality – in contrast to traditional project developments. It is simultaneous development, management, programming and exploitation. This innovative approach has been agreed upon in an administrative agreement and will be completed by Bureau Marineterrein Amsterdam. Such strategy has many advantages: fewel financial and planning risks, small steps are easy to correct and cost less than masterplans. Also designing process itslef with cooperation of owners and users can integrate all ideas and in the end be more successful. In 2015 first phase was finished.
The identity of revitalised Marineterrein is based on economical and social values as sustainability, integration with the city, international cooperation. They also will grow in time to give Dutch goverment a chance to evaluate the results and their effectiveness and decide what to do with the next step, next part of the development. Whole strategy is ran by 3 main values: innovation – the curiosity to learn, desire to discover, no fear for unknown, connection – combining contacts, knowledge and resources, cooperation, and focus on content, no non-sense attitude.
Next phase was finished in January 2016 and was also based on enhancing values instead of working towards a final result and included participation of occupats. Its main achievement is continuous pedestrians and bikes transfer and connection to the Central Station. 3rd phase (July 2016) includes using military buildings, 4th is planned for 2018 and the last one is still unknown but need to be figured out before 2018.
Now, when the process is still unfinished, we can already see many cultural, technological and sociological initiatives. New restaurants are established, there are guided tours, freshly opened Circular City Exhibition and advertising campaign. Even that short time after „new beginning” it became popular for both tourists and locals and start to fulfil its big cooperation and innovation programme.
Despite many advantages, chosen strategy is a dangerous solution – relying on grassroots movement always entail the risk of no engagement and necessity of changing beautiful ideas, working with no prespecified final goal can be misleading etc. We can probably list many more disadvantages, but innovative character is indisputable. Changing trends, leaderships and designers can make this place truly interesting and diverse.
The attempt to find remedy for endlessly changing requirements is worth any price – we can’t always stagnate and kick against the pricks.
official website: Marineterrein Amsterdam