Atelier 2 (15/16)

Network City: The Unnatural Landscape
Utrecht

Tutor: Neil Stevenson

The Atelier began with a morphological study of the Dutch city of Utrecht and of the networks resulting from historical developments in trade and communication. Sited on an earlier marginal ‘dry’ settlement the medieval city expanded through land reclamation and the networks of Imperial trade. In the wider context the post war Dutch urban landscape has evolved through a well-connected transport network of urban enclaves across the Ranstad (Delft, Utrecht, Rotterdam), whilst still retaining and evolving the identity of the urban centre and integrity of the block. Year 5 students focused on the former industrial district of Rotsoord and the potential offered by the newly relocated HKU (University of the Arts) to create new networks, a mix of social and workplace activities connecting existing and new communities. Year 6 students in consultation with Dutch urban activist group Expodium, made comparisons between the more expansive industrial sites of Werkspoor and Sheffield’s Neepsend. Students proposed scenarios and developed individual design projects within existing urban frameworks in response to the new and potentially transformative digital nature of work and social networks.

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