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Creating Pleasant Places

Last Wednesday, June 10, Sjoerd Soeters gave an online lecture as part of the Martin Center Research Seminar Series 50 for the University of Cambridge. In this talk, Sjoerd addressed the aim of creating pleasant places through three successive projects: Java Island, Sluseholmen and Holland Park.

Creating Pleasant Places

The purpose of the design for Java Island was a transformation of a former harbour district into a residential environment near the city centre of Amsterdam. Theories and ideas from Tadehiku Higuchi and John Habraken were integrated into  the plan which consist of a structure of canals, alternated with public inner courtyards and a variety of dwelling types.

In the Sluseholmen plan, in the southern harbour district of Copenhagen, the idea of concentrating people in public spaces was introduced. A grid of canals around the building blocks together with many bridges and a bended east-west main canal were the important ingredients for the design. A quay for pedestrians at the north side of a concave stretch of facades, turned out to be an appropriate answer to the Scandinavian demand for sunlight. The third project shows the transformation of a large out-of-function business district into a residential environment in midst of the financial crisis. Ideas and insights form the previous projects were applied in the masterplan for Holland Park in Diemen. Although not completely finished, the experience of serial vision perspectives along the bent quays and over the bridges is already there.

More information can be found on the website of John Habraken: thematicdesign.org