RETHINKING EUROPEAN MODERNISM (Bijlmermeer, NL / La Grande Motte, F)
The contributions of modernity that was at once promising and fascinating, are nowadays very often perceived as a dilemma between identity and alterity. But what should we do with the built structures from the 60-ties and the 70-ties? Should we renewal it, demolish it or convert it?
In this project you analyze one of the most famous urban structures of the modernism: The Bijlmermeer, Nagele, Unité d’habitation and La Grande Motte.
You start analyzing the Bijlmermeer and Nagele. Afterwards you compare these with the Unité d’habitation and La Grande Motte. You reseach the impact and the meaning of modernism architecture in 2015 on these 4 locations and finally you will develop a design strategy for an area in La Grande Motte.
La Grande Motte
Concept schedule (March 2016 –June 2016)
March / April May June
week 13 start of the track week 18 - week 22 portfolio assessment
week 14 excursion Bijlmermeer week 19 -
week 15 portfolio assessment week 20 urban strategy
week 16 design week week 21 final presentation
week 17 urban research
28 March 2016 – 03 June 2016
20 hours per week
Bijlmermeer Amsterdam, hetzelfde maar anders, in 134 luchtfoto’s – Fotografie Ger en Marco van Middelkoop, tekst Noud de Vreeze, uitgeverij Thoth
Saxion University of Applied Sciences, department of urban design
At the design week (week 15) we will travel to Marseille (Unité d’habitation) and to La Grande Motte to analyze and to work on the 2 locations.
Final presentation of your analyses and your design strategy:
3 A1 / A0 posters to be submitted both on paper an in digital form. This posters give insight in your analyses, your research and your strategy for the further development of La Grande Motte.
A personal portfolio assessment:
A successful final presentation allows you to get a portfolio assessment of 3 professional competences (Analysis, Urban Research and Urban Strategy). The results of this assessment will be certificated.
Nagele, www.noordoostpolder.nl/dnanoordoostpolder/De Dorpen/Nagele/Identiteit/Landschap, 15.09.2015, 10:06
In this urban nomads program you will develop 3 professional competences: Analysis, Urban Research and Urban Strategy.
During 8 weeks you will work continuously and integral on these competences. You work individual and you will get weekly feedback in classes on your products. This project includes 1 design week in La Grande Motte and a final presentation.
Feedback on products:
Once a week (see schedule) you get individual feedback on the design products in the studio of urban nomads. Feedback is at the design studio in Amsterdam on Wednesday afternoon.
At the design week (week 15) we will travel to Marseille (Unité d’habitation) and to La Grande Motte to analyze and to study the 2 locations. A workshop and excursions will be organized where you get input, feedback and work on your analyses.
At the end of the course you present your project to professionals.
Portfolio assessment, certification:
After the final presentation your portfolio will be accessed by certificated assessors on the 3 competences. You will receive a certificate.
Le Corbusier, Unité d’Habitation, Marseille (1952), Phaidon (ed.), Le Corbusier Le Grand, New York 2008; S. 422
Unité d’habitation 1945
Clearly described in “La Maison des hommes” in 1942, the “unité d’habitation de grandeur conforme” or vertical garden-city project that absorbed Le Corbusier for years was ready in 1945.
Thick pilotis holds 337 apartments accessed every third floor by interior “streets”. Different from all the others, the third “street” houses the “common facilities” of “supplies” and a hotel. Suspended between the hills and the bay, the roof terrace contains a gymnasium, a running track and various shelters, recalling the transatlantic liners extolled in “Vers une architecture” and the Parthenon that he discovered in 1911 in its position between sea and mountain.
The difficulties of the site were heightened by the campaigns conducted by several conservative architects and extremist hygienist who promised that the building would increase the number of psychiatric cases in Marseille – whence its local nickname, “maison des fadas” and then “du fada”. But criticism also came from the other side of the Atlantic: in 1957 Lewis Mumford denounced the “egocentric extravagance of the “Marseille folly”, reproaching Le Corbusier for having “betrayed the human contents to produce a monumental esthetic effect.”
The urban design of Nagele by the modernist architects and urbanists of the Amsterdam functionalist circle “De 8” was presented and discussed at the seventh CIAM in Bergamo in 1949. It takes another fifteen years until the modernist village was realized in 1964. What stands out by the design of Nagele is that the designer decided to work intensively together with landscape architect Mien Ruys. She was responsible for the most conspicuous and important element of Nagele. The boundary of a geometric forest hides the village from the wind and the monotony of the Polderlandscape. It creates an interior space to compensate the enormous endless, rational and impersonal landscape of the polder.
The concept for the urban design of the city extension in Amsterdam South-east refers directly to the theses of Le Corbusier formulated in “vers une architecture” . The proclaimed functionalism, which is applied in the Bijlmermeer very consequently, results in endless repeatable honey comb structures of more or less similar apartments, which are situated in a park landscape and excessed by a separated traffic system.
Soon after Bijlmermeer’s completion the affluent society of the 70-ties preferred to live in single familiar houses which are constructed in the suburbs and critics complained of the inhuman scale of the plan.
La Grande Motte 1976
The project is the outcome of De Gaulle’s government policy to organize tourism in the new age of the “civilization of leisure”. It is one of the six “tourist units of uniform size” separated by natural areas delimited by the planning agency in which Jean Balladur worked, together with Georges Candilis, Marcel Lods, Henri Castella and Élie Mauret.
He used it concrete to carve straight and curved lines, refusing to “add cosmetics to make it look like fishermen’s old stone houses.”
“La Grande Motte cannot leave you indifferent,” as its designer claimed.