Paros, Naxos Periferiakos Parikias
844 00, Paros Island
T. (+30) 22840 27 550
Syros, Tinos, Mykonos 2 Perakaki str.
841 00, Syros Island
T. (+30) 22810 80 914
Athens, Mainland 9 Kolokotroni str.
105 62, Athens
T. (+30) 693 606 9340
Terra Nova, Groningen Nederlands
Terra Nova, Groningen Nederlands
European 12 Competition Entry
The 2008-2020 Groningen Masterplan builds its planning on the strategic location of the city of Groningen on the North of the Netherlands. It highlights the importance of the existing mesh of transportation networks, by air, land and water and the necessity to further strengthen their function and interconnectivity. Such networks allow the city of Groningen to be in constant collaboration and exchange with its neighboring satellite cities of Assen, Drachten, Winschoten on a regional level and the rest of the country and the world in a surpa-regional scale. As put forth in the programmatic description of the Masterplan, the position of Groningen on the Northern De¬velopment Axis and its qualities as a national urban network provide abundant opportunities in an internation¬al, national and regional perspective. The joined vision that the Municipalities of Assen and Groningen share the past fifteen years are a valuable asset for the future development of the area; they raise the challenge of any proposal for the Europan competition site beyond the strict limits of the city of Groningen itself. The idea of a mini metropolis is what stimulates our thinking and drives our design proposal. To come up with functions and urban typologies that allude to the immediate needs of the city yet share the vision of inter-regional collaboration, of joined initiatives.
Perspective ViewsThe left-over character of the site becomes its greatest premise. We respond to the brief of the competition by laying out on this new land, this Terra Nova, the seed of multi-functionality. We wish not to over determine the program at this stage, only to point out that the new land is born out of the city, its paths being the natural extension of the streetscape, its infrastructure, physical and virtual, contributing to the extensive network of educational and research institutions of the city.
We consider the ‘brittle’ nature of the Dutch landscape. A landscape inhabited under the premise of technological ingenuity,
owing its longevity to the capacity of the human intellect. Being Dutch means growing up under this fine line between the natural and the man made, the natural and the artificial, between what would naturally exist and what exists only as the desire of man. The Hoendiep canal is physically connected to - part of this vast technical undertaking of man. A barrier and a splendid opportunity to quote the competition organizers. To work with the canal means to take into account this vast network and consider its importance. The first act of our architectural intervention is one of hydrological nature. Through the opening up of a new canal however we do a lot more than to reorganize slightly the stream of the water. We create a new artificial boundary, a new entity we choose to call the island (despite the fact that all of the country is more or less islands of some sort). By treating it as an island we automatically introduce the potential of a new identity. Once the technological infrastructure proves stable and the threat of a natural disaster is diminished man starts to explore further this potential marriage of nature and technology. Artificiality becomes then an axiom and a modus operandi - the natural can never again exist without the technique. The engineers set new frontiers in the manipulation of nature to fulfill man’s desire. Yet only the outline of the island does not suffice to grant it a new identity. We decide to build on the idea of nature as artifice, of land as a sort of malleable piece of paper. We introduce imaginary geological forces. Mountains are built, some made to look ‘natural’, others made to look artificial. The program is buried underneath. Now we have the straight and the curved, the horizontal and the oblique in one. We have plateaus, valleys and canyons, a beach and a small biotope, swimming tanks and open air theatres. And in the interior a powerhouse of knowledge, research facilities, innovation.
Programmatic DiagramsWe consider the existing structures of the strategic site redundant. Their poor ‘tin-box’ quality lacks identity and can only deteriorate further. Their poor performance makes our decision lighter. The transformation of such tin-box structures would have been possible. Yet only as a temporary solution. After the ground is cleared all that is left is the potential generated from the city itself - the dynamics of the urban surroundings. We see a ground plane full of potential. A ground that is pushed upwards to host a diverse program. We don’t abolish the parameter of large-ness but we push it to its extreme. We wish to create a cluster of multiple program and users, wrapped under an iconic architectural gesture. One island, broken down in three distinct zones. Each zone assumes a different character, in terms of pro¬gram and architectural expression.
All three come together to form a coherent system that through its diversity and multi-functionality becomes a pro¬totype of urban development. The first zone builds upon the theme of an urban landscape. The mountains are angled, built as stepped surfaces. A series of amphitheaters ideal for spontaneous events and a continuous stepping up to the two plateaus, where different views of the island and the city are offered. Partially planted, partially hard surface this part of the island belongs more to the city and the man-made than it does to nature. Inside the program could follow the thematic axis of energy and research related to energy production and sustainability. The KEMA factory, which continues to be housed under one of the two shells could prove to have a major role in this part of the island. The second zone concentrates on the theme of ecology. The mountain form approximates a natural mountain one can easily climb on. This part of the island meets the water in a soft manner. Here nature comes to develop spontaneously. A biotope will eventually grow on today’s parking lots. Inside multi-task research facilities could be available to students, young professionals, start-up companies. A powerhouse of creativity. The third zone is purely devoted to recreation and sports. A sand beach, large swimming pools, beach volley courts, wellness centers. A live manifestation why Groningen is a pioneer in the Medical and Healthy Aging sector.