Reassess of the transition zones

Providing places in the Lodewijk van Deysselbuurt that enable the residents to appropriate, modify and participate in their built environment

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This graduation arises from the urgent need to revitalize a problematic post-war neighbourhood in Amsterdam-West. There is a lack of places for residents to connect with each other and with their built environment. The zones between the private and public domain, the transition zones of the ‘General Expansion Plan’ aren’t enabling or encouraging residents to appropriate, modify or participate in them. This graduation focusses on finding out what conditions enable the use of and give quality to the transition zones and will be the starting point for revitalizing a neighbourhood. The design question was: ‘How could the design of new transitional zones between the private and public domain of the infill, support and tissue level, enable and encourage appropriation, modification and participation in the Lodewijk van Deysselbuurt, in order to improve the solidarity between current and new residents and their attachment with the built environment?’ The research was oriented towards Open Building projects. The focus was on the participation of residents on various levels of the design process and the measures that are integrated to enable residents to change parts of the building to their preferences and also the process of enabling this and processing it up till today. How were the residents involved in the design process and after the completion? Did the residents make use of this possibility to change? And how was this managed? The research question was: ‘How is the Open Building concept over time enabling and encouraging residents to appropriate, modify and participate in the transition zones of the support and tissue level?’ The result of the research paper together with a project site analyses created conditions for the design phase. The relation between research and design can be found in the physical and non-physical elaboration of the project. The outcome of the research created both physical and non-physical conditions to use in future Open Building projects, of which this project is one. The translation was done by relating it to the specific site. The conditions for transition zones of future Open Building projects are: 1. Create predestined transition zones with pre-designed frameworks that are subject to policy. 2. Early involvement and participation on multiple levels will clarify ones responsibilities and possibilities within that framework. 3. Communication between owners, users and committees lead to a shared valuation and affinity of collectiveness. This will result in a balance between privacy and interaction that origins from the users themselves. My role as an architect was to create a framework with boundaries and regulations in which users can participate, appropriate and modify. A framework is, a space or zone, in which regulations, rules for certain actors and factors apply. At the same time it is important to give freedom to the users, but also create a coherency for the building and its community. Four different zones can be distinguished: the collective, circulation, entrance and outdoor spaces. These spaces are housed in a basic wooden construction. To visualize the responsibilities and possibilities of the various actors related to the various phases of a project, from the pre-design up to the future, a scheme was created.