This competition was to transform a suburban neighbourhood in Rotterdam. Known as an ‘arrival city’, Ijsselmonde’s community has developed its own informal economy, exchanging and providing services within the lose fabric. The proposal reflects on the qualities of suburban lifestyle with an updated model of urban episodes, enhancing existing qualities and seeking to create polarities that reveal the undervalued qualities of the area. By means of densified poles – both built and unbuilt – a series of densely productive open spaces activate the often-neglected leftover spaces, and address the question of how to give form to a productive urban economy.
The project revisits the idea of ‘zoning’ in a subversive and contextual way creating dense poles of determination and strong identities. The design is organised in 4 ‘urban episodes’, each intensifying the as-found identities in the area; a housing strip combined with atelier spaces, into a regular and measured combination of open spaces; a high-rise aligned with an existing tower, articulating an axis starting that consolidates the role of the existing main square; and a park framed by means of a canopy that contains several facilities as well as giving access and activating the nowadays difficult border. As a result, the project structures the neighbourhood in well-defined recognisable zones.