An increasing number of people want to live in the city, the houses are becoming more expensive and the city is increasingly a place for the rich. This can’t continue in the long term. The question is how we can handle this in a different way? I believe that there is a better, more social and collective manner to change cities from within and transform them into cities of the future. Growth, increasing density, flexibility, hybrid boundaries and interweaving of functions is possible here. This is all about the human as part of the collective, through swapping private space for collective space and seeing property as part of a greater whole. In many cultures, fraternisation, solidarity, love of one’s neighbour and friendship is reflected in eating together and sharing bread. That makes the old Broodfabriek (Bread Factory) in Utrecht a perfect starting point for this new way of living.
Through a reduction in scale on each level, new neighbourhoods are designed as a city and new housing blocks (transformations) as a neighbourhood. Homes becomes rooms as part of a larger building. In this way, the boundaries between public and private become blurred or they are organised dynamically and differently. It brings people closer together in an innovative manner: they learn from other cultures and ways of living, while the qualities and needs of each individual are the main focus.
Consider a housing block as a type of neighbourhood, a souk or a social factory. All residents have the key to the gate, but outsiders are also welcome. Each resident has his or her own room (home), but also forms part of the community. Neighbours know each other and are dependent on each other, to a greater or lesser extent, as part of the whole. The ‘neighbourhood’ has a high density and is flexible, multifunctional and hybrid in its transitions. The rich in-between world becomes visible in the architecture and on each scale, from the individual room to the bond with the city.
Graduation committee: Uri Gilad Mentor, Machiel Spaan and Bruno Doedens. Extra members for the examination: Jeroen van Mechelen and Judith Korpershoek.