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Sympoiesis of Fragments: Towards a Socio-Cultural Cornucopia of Ecologies

BEST AMSTERDAM SITE of Community 2050 Competition (open category)

Team members: Kelly Ting & Elim Hu

In a future where resources and materials are scarce, the equation is no longer of adding a new part but of sharing one’s entity to fuse into a new part. Our intervention through the 3 cycles (parts) seeks to transfigure Ijplein’s currently monotonous and segregated landscape into one that embraces the cornucopia of socio-ecological spheres where culture and ecosystem interconnect (whole).

Co-operative Cycle: 

The part to part relationship is highlighted in the essence of codividual living. Codividual sympoiesis proposes a participatory democracy where people collaborate to form a dialect of space where the dichotomous tension between individual freedom and collective benefit is healed.

Canal houses inspired prefabricated timber units aim to ensure affordability and accessibility to the different family configurations. Most importantly, each unit’s mobility from its own parts enables one to readily share and interact, composing an informal environment that changes and evolves within itself. The fusion of co-working and co-living from the units, recreational spaces, to the shared kitchen-dining space, operates locally as a polycentric network, supporting diversity and social inclusiveness. Overall, this decentralisation of power and transparency for a more equitable model of urban densification.

In addition, the system of pneumatic tubes throughout the codividual interior not only transport market goods to the distributed centres above but also consists of a waste collection system – ‘Pay as you Throw’, to rethink IJplein’s consumption behaviour. Components of the residential blocks such as doors, windows and bricks have been repurposed into new parts, echoing an industrial scene, honouring the ADM shipyard that once stood proud on the land from 1879. 

Healing Cycle:

Prior to the formation of the codividual landscape, the ‘Regenerative Membrane’, embraces the notion of circular economy through the fusion of CO2 and recycled waste into new building materials ( carbonate silica & metal oxides ). Its biopolymer skin-like graft attaches onto the decaying shell of IJplein’s waterfront buildings, effectively ‘eats away’ parts of the building facade while absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. The product is then extracted from the membrane’s vein-like tubes for future on-site construction. 

The characteristic of IJplein’s existing urban fabric is its building’s parallel in-between spaces. Mediating between the formal and informal to arise at an intermediate space that fosters a dynamic interconnection between the socio-cultural and ecological sphere while protecting the site’s heritage, the lively space encompasses an array of food&retail stores, markets and co-working hubs. Furthermore, the timber facade frames the corridor, inspired by historic canal houses connecting IJplein to central Amsterdam. 

Enhancing biodiversity and stimulating community thriving, the translucent biopolymer envelope adorned with digitally generated intricate patterns attracts wildlife and reacts to the environment – changing shape and colour according to climate fluctuations in temperature, sunlight, humidity and airflow. Alike the envelope, the translucent polycarbonate panels on the timbre facade change colour gradient according to CO2 absorption level. Together providing a phenomenological and educational experience for onlookers. 

As one look towards Ijplein, the waterfront sets the scene of a multi-cultural flourishing community serving as an interactive fabric to the other neighbourhoods. Informally scattered along the waterfront where the footprint of the ‘eaten away’ blocks remain, are ambiguous spaces of leisure. Together with the moveable existing facade, stimulating collective creation. In addition, the water channels offer alternative modes of transport in an endless landscape where walkability, bikeability and ecosystem lie in synchronisation. The sunk-in playgrounds simultaneously provide stormwater filtration, interconnecting the water channels and wetlands, forming a full water regeneration cycle to heal lost aquatic biodiversity. 

Productivity Cycle:

At the heart of our proposed site is the rotating timber plaza, a powerhouse forming the cornucopia of places rich in multi-cultural mashups embracing a myriad of food&retail hubs for day-night economy. The cargo ship inspired plaza reminisces IJplein’s shipyard heritage while its atmosphere celebrates the lively spirit of the Festival of Fools – the finale before OMA’s development of IJplein. Adorning the plaza’s rooftop is an array of tulips –  national flower of the Netherlands, emulating biomimicry through its solar panel embedded petals which move with fluctuations in temperature and sunlight direction. Mechanical canal boats loop around the plaza’s top level, taking tourists for site views of the IJ river while the plaza’s 360 track system rotates with sunlight allowing an ever-changing visual experience of IJplein. 

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