De campus als publiek domein - Rooilijn

De campus als publiek domein - Rooilijn


Jg. 42 / Nr. 4 / 2009

Simon Allford

“The challenge is to make the Roeterseiland

part of the city”

Sabine Meier and Samantha Volgers

“The challenge is to make the Roeterseiland part of the city”

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) won the international competition for the

restructuring of the Roeterseilandcomplex (REC). The scope of the project is to

renovate buildings A, B and C. One of the major interventions is the intersection in the

building crossing the Nieuwe Achtergracht to open up the area behind it. The jury was

convinced by AHMM functional and flexible concept of architecture. “New architecture

is a way of thinking of a building. The three key-elements are strategy, people and

aesthetics.” Simon Allford speaks with us about how to integrate the REC in the daily

lives of students, staff and the urban public.

“We studied together and invented AHMM in 1989

because we wanted to make architecture that is beautiful

to look at and satisfying to use. Everyone has his

own projects and the individual intelligence has a great

amount of autonomy, even though the collective intelligence

can be much better than the individual one.

That means that we share experience and opinions. If

one feels constrained, the collective intelligence helps

to liberate and invigorate it. This is what we call ‘our

fifth man’.”

How do you and your ‘fifth man’ approach the restructuring

of the REC?

“The international competition for the REC was a

challenge for us; we had never built outside of England

before. It was an interesting competition because

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they asked us to tell what we thought of the existing

buildings, instead of asking us to present a complete

and elaborated design. We showed our ideas of the

restructuring as a way of thinking of a building. We

actually showed a process of thinking.”

What is the process about?

“First, a process is always about trying to understand

a place and the politics in the broader sense, and

analysing the needs later on. They do not come to us

and say we need a university building. They say we

have got this site and we may place a hotel, offices,

some housing here and a school there. All those

buildings can come together within a multi-layered

city programme. Second, consultation is part of the

process. When making all those buildings smart and

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