Plans for 2021

#1

03.01.21 Indira van 't Klooster 8 minute read

In recent years, pressure on the city has become greater. More people are moving in, real estate is getting more expensive, homes are becoming smaller, and public space is being used more intensively.

The housing shortage requires rapid and large-scale production, but drastic transitions (climate, energy, circularity) take time for research and experimentation. The fact that Amsterdam is growing, densifying, and changing is visible in the new neighbourhoods and buildings which are rising and in new infrastructure that is being laid out. A rich diversity of people live and work in the city, who sometimes seem to move in parallel worlds. For newcomers, the city is becoming increasingly unaffordable while segregation between ages, cultures, education, income, and physical capabilities is being compounded. In addition, technological developments are changing how we experience and use the city. The still-raging pandemic makes the importance of appropriate responses to all of these developments all the more urgent.

At the same time, Amsterdam has ostensibly never seemed so prosperous. Houses are refurbished, residual lots are built up, and run-down peripheries are spruced up. The fact that this apparent prosperity is also under threat remains invisible to many. Admittedly, we see that sustainability policies lead to material innovation, which renders buildings more climate-proof, energy-neutral, or even energy-producing. We experience that the quality of architecture has an influence on public space. We notice that the pressure on the city limits is growing, but the same goes for the utilisation and function of shared courtyard gardens, for example. If you look further, you will see that apparently invisible processes such as air pollution, climate change, digitisation, or loneliness also leave traces in the city. In the coming years we will present three lines of programming through which we draw attention to the built environment, the design issues, and the different visions about these things:

What’s Up? (Current Affairs), What’s Real? (Elaboration) and What’s Next? (Innovation).
What’s Up? – gatherings, explorations

A light, informative programme that explores the city through the lens of current affairs. In doing so, we seek collaboration with various institutions within and outside the city through things like the Winter Lectures, the Amsterdam Architecture Prize 2021, ‘De Nieuwe Stad’ on Sundays, and livecasts from Pakhuis de Zwijger.

What’s Real? – 5D ExpoLab

Here we elaborate upon questions and tap into new knowledge. We offer a platform for new and existing talent, perpetuate short lines with our professional counterparts, strengthen participation models and co-creation, and learn from each other at home and abroad. We investigate how (visualising) data can be used as a design tool and means to involve a wide audience in topical design issues. This will be done in collaboration with Rebel GroupCognizantHogeschool van Amsterdam (Franks Suurenbroek and Martijn de Waal), AMS Institute and Datalab Amsterdam.

What’s Next? – exhibitions

If we know what’s happening in the city (What’s Up?) and gather information to explain and substantiate these developments (What’s Real?), we can then formulate new design questions about the future of the city. Architect in Residence (AIR) Afaina de Jong seizes upon feminist practice as a theme to develop a new design vocabulary, which we will show in the exhibition Safe Places Safe Spaces: Emancipation Architecture through the Ages. Another AIR, Thijs de Zeeuw, investigates as part of the Amsterdam Underground the position of plants and animals as Amsterdammers in the city, wherein we compare Amsterdam with the underground landscapes of Helsinki, Gangnam, Tokyo, Singapore, and Montreal. Lastly, Private Eye collects all kinds of gadgets and smart systems from in and around the house and examines the boundaries between convenience and privacy. What will the new house of the future look like? Who has access to the data collected by all those home automation and smart systems, and who owns it?

City Model becomes 5D Expolab

After years of preparation, the Stadsmaquette took shape as a multimedia attraction in January 2020, a multi-million-euro project centred around a model of Amsterdam. The Covid-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works, but ARCAM decided not to wait any longer and go ahead with it anyway. Through small-scale experiments and multimedia spatial representations, in the coming year we will visualise the city and region on various scales, in close cooperation with all of the project supporters from over the years.

Under the designation 5D ExpoLab, we will collect information that helps us to interpret current developments and translate them into design assignments, as well as investigate promising applications of data (sets) as a design tool. Through (interactive) models, we also demonstrate current spatial developments in the metropolitan region to residents, tourists, professionals, and foreign delegations. The Timeline 2000–2030 is part of this.

The results of these experiments will be given a more concrete form in 2023, as a (semi-)permanent installation on the quay. As such, the 5D ExpoLab is at the heart of ARCAM’s role, in the sense that it puts current developments on the agenda and involves a wide audience. It connects the generally informative function of ARCAM (lectures, walks and bicycle tours) with the exhibition programme via the coordinates of the city and region.