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Alternative Center for Performing Arts in Amsterdam’s Old Harbor
  • Nomination for the “Research through Architecture / Architecture Diplomas” section

Alternative Center for Performing Arts in Amsterdam’s Old Harbor

Authors: Miruna Buza

Tutor: Dorin Stefan
Universitatea de Arhitectura si Urbanism 'Ion Mincu'

Authors’ Comment

My Diploma Project is an alternative art performance center located on an abandoned pier in the former harbor area in the current center of Amsterdam, addressing the student community of the faculties with an artistic profile.

The generative concept follows three basic principles: REclaim – Reuse – Rewild. They are the result of extensive research on geopolitics and the history of the analyzed area, which is why they are strongly connected.

As a former heavily industrialized area, the area where the site is located became abandoned in the early 70s (moving heavy industries out of the city), beginning to be inhabited by squatter communities. The right-wing government of the Netherlands, as well as the local councils of Amsterdam, initiated a project to revitalize this area, starting to exert pressure on these communities. The authorities-squatters conflict has a tumultuous history in Amsterdam, proving - not infrequently - to be extremely violent.

One of the most famous squatter communities was that of local artists, whose work is still recognized today. In 2010, squatting became officially illegal in the Netherlands, with most of the land being taken over by the government or corporations and used for real estate developments that triggered a long process of gentrification.
My project site was saved from construction following numerous protests organized by the local community. The land is currently in dispute, and the project aims to recover (REclaim) it in full.

At the heart of the design process are sustainable and eco-friendly strategies. Amsterdam – a city with an ecological reputation in the international community, has been adopting increasingly environmentally damaging policies in recent years. Thousands of rusted and used metal containers are thrown into the landfills around the great port every year, along with construction materials from demolished buildings, and the project aims to REuse them.

The central area of ​​Amsterdam is densely built, but lacking in green spaces. As the largest green space over several miles, the project site will become an attraction for artists, visitors and tourists, helping the local arts community to thrive. The footprint of the proposed building is minimized and vegetation is allowed to grow unchecked through a REwilding process.

The strongest symbol of the project - the art tower acts as a museum - archive, where all these student products are stored. Both the size and structure of the tower grow as the community and its product grows.
The art tower stands in contrast to the Shell tower – the tallest building in Amsterdam, located on the opposite bank of the river. Over time, the student tower will grow taller, symbolizing the triumph of art and the creative process over the old, deterministic and conservative values ​​of capitalism.

My project ultimately aims to help young artists reach their creative potential, giving them the foundations to think differently and change the world of tomorrow.

REclaim what was stolen.
REuse what was wasted.
REwild what has been tamed.
REJECT what has been forced by false power.

Research through Architecture
Architecture Diplomas
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