The 2021 Sweco Design Challenge prize went to space designer Lucas Zoutendijk from Studio 1: 1. Sweco, in collaboration with the Dutch Design Foundation, launched the What If lab, in which three designers came up with ideas to stimulate connection in public space. In the winning Shadow Places project, Zoutendijk focused on unused space under bridges and viaducts, with new climate-appropriate zoning plans.
In research for the design competition, Zoutendijk showed the potential of empty and unused places in the urban environment, such as bridges and viaducts. Bridges and viaducts separate parts of the city at thirty locations in Rotterdam. The Shadow Spaces design addresses urban issues such as greening, climate adaptation and security, while transforming empty spaces into places of connection, sport and play. Sweco, in collaboration with the 1: 1 studio , will continue to work on the idea using the idea of Shadow Spaces for missions for ProRail, Rijkswaterstaat and various cities. They found the idea striking because of the opportunities for the idea to be easily implemented in other cities and the attention paid to places already there. “Anyone involved in the development of the area can learn from this project how to appropriate empty spaces. “
Sweco, Europe’s largest architectural and engineering consultancy, organized the What If lab with the Dutch Design Foundation on the basis of the desire to see public space from different angles and to forge collaborations with designers. With the design competition, Sweco says it is laying the groundwork for wider engagement and collaboration with the creative sector. The three selected designers got to work in the What If lab with the question: how to reestablish real contact between people and break social bubbles?
Image: A map of Rotterdam with red circles around bridges and viaducts that can be turned into meeting places with Shadow Places
In addition to the presentation of Zoutendijk with Shadow Places, Olifantenpad CS also presented its VR tool, which residents can use to reflect on the interpretation and transformation of their public space. The user of the virtual reality tool can share information about how he feels in a digitally designed public space using neurofeedback. The third entry came from Rombout Frieling with Body Scape, who presented a personal journey of discovery with attention to the different body positions, in which a park with minimalist seats and reclining furniture challenges the visitor and invites to meet others. .
The jury found the three ideas to be complementary, but ultimately chose Shadow Places because the circular concept was based on what was already there, without having to replace it with something new. “It breaks down barriers in cities by using the viaduct design to connect city neighborhoods and put people in contact with each other,” one of the jury members said. can be manipulated.
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