#3 Parisferique c’est magnifique

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ANA goes Europe continues! 
Op 8 oktober vertrekken we naar La Métropole du Grand Paris. Het is de derde onderzoeksreis op rij, eerdere etappes leidde naar Duitsland, Denemarken, Zweden en Noorwegen.

Franse thema’s
We richten ons vizier op Frankrijk omdat het als een van de grootste en meest invloedrijke landen van de Europese Unie ingrijpende veranderingen kent. Groeiende ongelijkheid is op dit moment in Frankrijk een van de belangrijkste politieke thema’s. Is de tweedeling tussen arm en rijk, kansarm en kansrijk, in de stad zichtbaar? We zijn benieuwd hoe deze ongelijkheid in de Franse steden is opgelost en hoe er oplossingen zijn gevonden voor verdere verdichting van de metropolitane regio. Welke woonkwaliteiten worden gerealiseerd in gebieden met hoge dichtheid? Hoe zijn betaalbare woningen en aantrekkelijke alternatieven voor de middenklasse vormgegeven?

Kennisuitwisseling 
Tijdens de voorbereiding van deze reis spraken we met Nederlandse stakeholders over hun visie op de woningbouwopgave van de toekomst en over de vragen die ze ons willen meegeven op reis. In Parijs spreken we o.a. met ontwikkelaar Paris Batignolles over verdichtingsprojecten langs de Boulevard Périphérique. Met Archi5 architectes bezoeken we een aantal invulprojecten die zijn gebouwd in hout. Architect Julien Beller zal ons vertellen over vluchtelingenhuisvesting en de impact die dat heeft op de stad. We praten met Jean Christophe Masson over de woonkwaliteit van hoogbouw. En we ontmoeten Paris Habitat, de grootste verhuurder van sociale woningbouw. Manager Urban Planning Department van de regio Noisy-le-Grand ontvangt ons om te praten over de stadsvernieuwing in Palacio d’Abraxas, een megalomaan woningbouwpaleis van de Spaanse architect Ricardo Bofill, gebouwd in 1982.

Op: https://anagoeseurope.wordpress.com/  en onze Facebookpagina en ArchiNed. lees je verslagen van eerdere bezoeken en kun je onze bevindingen in La Métropole du Grand Paris volgen.

ANA goes Europe is een reis door Europa in etappes. Sinds 2014 onderzoekt ANA architecten de woningbouwopgave van de toekomst en de bijdrage die architecten daaraan kunnen leveren. Voor #3 Parisferique! C’est magnifique? heeft ANA een financiële bijdrage ontvangen van het Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie.

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Tübingen, stad van de tussenmaat

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Freiburg was de eerste stad die ruimte maakte voor bouwgroepen, maar Tübingen heeft dit fenomeen tot een zeer consistente vorm van stadsontwikkeling weten te ontwikkelen.

Al sinds de ontwikkeling van het Französisches viertel, vanaf het begin van de jaren ’90, werkt de stad aan een hyper democratisch en transparant stadsontwikkelingsmodel. Op alle niveaus hebben de stad Tübingen en de daar werkzame architecten zich weten te professionaliseren in het bouwen van sociaal duurzame, gemengde, stedelijke wijken waarin bottom up en top down in balans zijn.  Dit gaat zelfs zo ver dat de Deutsche Bahn nu ook de gemeente, vanwege haar expertise, heeft gevraagd hen te helpen met het integreren van bouwgroepen in de verder vrij traditionele ontwikkeling van het Güterbahnhof areaal, waar DB grondeigenaar is.

 

De architectuur is krachtiger geworden in de meer recente gebieden die de stad heeft ontwikkeld, zoals bijvoorbeeld de Alte Weberei in het stadsdeel Lustnau. De tussenmaat overheerst nog steeds in de stadsontwikkeling in Tübingen. Dat doet ons denken aan recente discussies in Amsterdam, waar tijdens de crisis veel ruimte ontstond voor kleinschalig ontwikkelen, maar door de oplevende woningmarkt de tussenmaatse ontwikkeling nu weer onder druk staat.


Bij de toewijzing van kavels in Tübingen wordt geselecteerd op sterke concepten en dat biedt veel ruimte voor experimenten op het gebied van techniek, zoals hoge duurzaamheid en massiefhoutbouw, maar ook op sociaal gebied: bijzondere doelgroepen, werkruimtes en buurtvoorzieningen. En dat biedt weer kansen voor architecten om innovatieve concepten te initiëren en samen met bewoners te realiseren.

Verkavelingsplan Guterbahnhof met in blauw de locaties voor bouwgroepen (bron: http://www.tuebingen.de)

Housing, planning and architecture, lectures in Linköping & Norrköping

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In march 2015 we had the opportunity to visit Sweden again, on invitation of Sveriges arkitekter in Linköping and de municipality in Norrköping. This invitation was related to the LivsRum/WoonRuimte exchange project we have been involved in. LivsRum/WoonRuimte is an initiative to stimulate the quality of housing architecture in Sweden by organizing exchange events between Dutch and Swedish architects. We used this opportunity to talk to local stakeholders on local housing and planning issues.

Linköping is a midsize (150.000) town on the east of Sweden. Norrköping  (120.000). The two cities work together to create a strong region. Both cities are growing and are being  challenged to build new housing for all their new inhabitant and  Both cities are growing and building a lot of new houses. Norrkoping is f.i. working on Inre Hamnen, an area of 2000 houses. Linköping is working on BOmesse 2017/ Vallastaden a new innovative housing  area of around 500 houses on the southern outskirts of the city.

After both lectures sharing information about the Dutch planning, architecture and housing tradition we have been discussing with the  participants  the local issues in housing and architecture. The architectural quality and diversity in housing is a question that needs attention in both cities. The role of the cityplanning office, in how to guard ambition throughout the whole process. Can they work with defining rules? What other means can the cityplanning office use to stimulate quality? Is it enough to sell smaller plots to attract also the smaller developers? At the Lecture in Linköping it was emphasized that there may be even a more urgent matter to deal with in planning and housing. That is segregation. It is stated that Linköping is the second most segregated city in Sweden with Skäggetorp with its around 10.000 inhabitants as the most problematic area. Should social mixture not be the key issues to address in urban planning of new and infill neighborhoods is one of the raised questions.

Christina Nilsson Collste, chairwoman of the Östergötland department of Sveriges Arkitekter believes that Linköping already has an interesting example of socially mixed planning, in the eighties neighborhood of Lambohov. Although there is a lot to criticize as well on this development, the social, financial and typological mix has really contributed to a more integrated neighborhood in her opinion. We have noticed a strong worry that Sweden is not handling segregated neighborhoods in the right way, from the spatial planning point of view. In Norrköping we have seen small attempts to diversify in the area Ringdansen, a Bijlmermeer-like scheme on the southern outskirts of Norrköping.  Some floors of apartment blocks have been torn down to create lowrise housing with private gardens in an area that is dominated by small apartments.  That this also demands a specific approach to the public-private border is maybe the next step to develop.

We will try to continue with a dialogue with the two cities and see if we can use the LivsRum/Woonruimte approach of exchanging knowledge and experience to stimulate the debate on architecture and housing.

Housing in Sweden, struggle for quality?

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The demand for dwellings in most Swedish cities is enormous. Stockholm in particular has to deal with a huge demand for living space. Until 2030 the amount of 140.000 houses has to be built in the Stockholm region. Politicians put a lot of pressure on the production dwellings in order to be able to house all the citizens. Due this enormous pressure the housing prizes in Stockholm are very high.

This pressure on the housing market makes it hard to realize urban and architectural quality in new housing areas. High density is inevitable when land prizes are high. Striking is that in Stockholm the municipality owns most of the land, Nevertheless, the struggle for housing quality is a hard one.

The building industry in Sweden is dominated by four big building companies who build around 80 percent of the total housing production. They operate both as developers and as total entrepreneurs.  In Sweden, a total entrepreneur takes over the whole process , from design to building, after tendering. This situation differs a lot from other countries. For instance Denmark has around eighteen bigger building firms. These big four Swedish companies have a strong lobby in politics and have a lot of influence on the building sector in Sweden.

We have talked to Anna-Stina Bokander, coordinating project manager for the municipality of Stockholm on the new development area Norra Djurgårdsstaden. This area around the royal Seaport on the eastside of the city is one of the biggest developing sites of Stockholm.
The plots in Norra Djurgårdsstaden are sold to developers and municipal housing companies. In the first phase of the development the plots were sold for the highest prize. In the second phase this strategy has been changed, in order to  generate more spatial quality and more architectural variety. Prizes were fixed by the municipality and the developers were selected through a competition on quality. In this phase the plots were also smaller, in order to create more space for smaller developers and builders. The plans that were selected show indeed a greater variety in comparison to the projects in the first phase.

But the projects of the second phase are not built yet. There is still the risk that a lot of quality is lost in the building preparation phase. In Sweden, architects get an assignment to make a design, but are often not involved in the later stages of projects. It is very common that the projectering, as they call it in Sweden, is done by another, cheaper architect. The original architect plays no further role and is most often not consulted when things are changed in the project, which of course is very likely. ­ All Swedish architects involved in housing complain about this phenomenon.

Still, if you look at this discussion from a Dutch perspective, the Swedish situation is a bit strange. One wonders why there is so much pressure on land and why everyone complains about lack of housing qualities. After all, Stockholm has enough space. It is one of the greenest cities in the world. The city owns most of the land and has the tools to challenge developers to set a standard to housing qualities.

Looking at Hammarby Sjöstad, a very centrally located development area from the ‘90s and 00’s, it seems that the city of Stockholm does have the capacity to make very attractive living environments. In Hammarby Sjöstad the city has developed a dense, mixed living area with good public transport and foremost great outdoor qualities. However, also in Hammarby Sjöstad it is clear that Swedish housing architecture is a bit boring and much of the same. Typological innovation is very scarce. New concepts for urban living patterns do not seem to be developed. So there are some challenges to deal with, but, from a Dutch perspective, it doesn’t look like a mission impossible at all.

HAMMARBY-2

Hammarby Sjöstad

hammarby3

Hammarby Sjöstad

HAMMARBY-1

Hammarby Sjöstad

Affordable housing, added value of architects

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During our visit to Copenhagen it became clear that good architecture is perceived as an undeniable value, also in regard of the non-profit housing assignment in the capital.  By all parties involved in the building industry, architects are considered well respected professionals and their contribution to the building assignment is, also in these times of financial crises, not in question. The non-profit housing assignment is probably the best example of this fact.

Housing in Copenhagen is, as in probably most other countries in Europe, very much influenced by the economic situation. In prosperous times housing prizes rise, developers build and the municipality can try to convince the developers to add quality to the surroundings by realizing their projects. But under these circumstances, non-profit housing organizations can’t afford to build on the central locations, because they cannot afford the land. On top of this, housing is mostly market driven. As a result, only products that do well on the market are being developed. Under these circumstances it is almost impossible to build for the lower incomes. In periods of economic decline however, the non-profit housing organizations can buy land and build housing for the lower income groups.

Still, there are numerous parties that put an effort in realizing affordable housing for starters and young urban inhabitants, also in prosperous times. Remarkably, it’s architects that come up with innovative, smart concepts. Besides, architects know how to integrate optimized building logistics in the design of good dwellings and agreeable living environments. This makes that architects are seen as an important party in the development of low-income housing.

An interesting development is the Armenbolig+ concept of non-profit housing organization KAB, the biggest non-profit housing organization in the Copenhagen region. Stine Kofod explained the concept of prefabricated lowrise casco houses that was first developed by a coalition of an architect and a builder in order to offer affordable but spacious and architectural attractive housing for a low prize.  Tenant’s take care of maintenance of their homes and outdoor space.The dwellings are delivered as a casco+, tenants can eassily change the interiorwalls, bathrooms, kitchens etc.. In return they pay low rents. The projects are up to 20% cheaper than other non-profit housing estates, 10% through the use of prefab solutions. The other 5-10% follows the new model for running it, where people take care of some maintenance themselves.

This principle was also used in the project Signalgarden in Copenhagen, by Lejerbo, where they built several blocks with different housing typologies. We have visited a maisonette of three stories accessed from a gallery. This is a uncommon typology for Denmark, even for Copenhagen. The inhabitants, a family with three children and a dog, are very happy with their house. They pay a relatively low rent for their 120 m2 flat, 1000 DK per month (ca. 1300 euro), this includes energy. In return the inhabitants of the block have to maintain their own collective garden and do some other maintenance jobs. The housing at Signalgarden looks well designed, the floor plans are clever, the facades smooth with expressive balconies, aluminum cladding and careful detailing of the common spaces.

We have also met Flemming Frost of JuulFrost arkitekter who initiated and build the concept of Bedre Billigere Boliger (Better Cheaper Housing) in Ølby. They designed apartments that were built for half the prize of normal non-profit housing. The quality they achieved is, considering this reduction of the building costs, very remarkable. The main significance is, however, that they showed that affordable housing does not necessarily means a cheap, worn down at forehand and stigmatic architecture.

These examples from Copenhagen show that in order to develop attractive and cheap housing solutions the architect can play a crucial role. A role that improves all aspects of the project: better, cheaper housing.

 

Bedre billigere boliger (beeld JuulFrost)

Signalgarden

Bedre Billigere Boliger 07

Bedre Billigere Boliger (beeld JuulFrost)