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Emmen, Netherlands

Shaping Voids

Cécilia
 Gross
, René
 Kuiken, Matteo Kuijpers — Shaping Voids

EMMEN IS NOT IN SEARCH OF ANOTHER PROJECT BUT OF A STRATEGY.

Cécilia
 Gross
, René
 Kuiken, Matteo Kuijpers — Shaping Voids

The inhabitants of Emmen have 1.5 time more public space to their disposal than the average Dutchman. This space is experienced in the forest that penetrates right trough the city center or in the zoo next to the village square. On a more negative side you’ll find this space in the abundance of roads, parking lots and neglected public space scattered across the city.

Cécilia
 Gross
, René
 Kuiken, Matteo Kuijpers — Shaping Voids

Shaping Voids is a strategy which operates within this unique character of Emmen. It’s about redefining the public space spatially and programmatically into a clear city pattern with colorful living area’s and unique dwelling typologies to attract younger inhabitants.

Cécilia
 Gross
, René
 Kuiken, Matteo Kuijpers — Shaping Voids

Shaping Voids: the strategy in time

Cécilia
 Gross
, René
 Kuiken, Matteo Kuijpers — Shaping Voids

1: Unify > grid

Cécilia
 Gross
, René
 Kuiken, Matteo Kuijpers — Shaping Voids

A grid of Scots pine trees is positioned within the center region of Emmen. This grid of trees will unify the streets, parking lots and voids and give character to the neglected public areas which are awaiting destination. It will connect the forest even more with the city center and thereby strengthen the unique and green character of Emmen.

2: Acupuncture > building mass

The unidentified and neglected public space is shaped into a clear city pattern by carefully adding building mass. A network between clearly defined streets and intimate voids is created.

3: Color > program

By programmatically activating the voids, the public space is given identity. A pattern language of different voids creates a colorful living area with squares, vegetable gardens, children’s playgrounds, sculpture gardens, pick nick accommodations, children’s zoos etcetera. The voids are connected by informal pedestrian routes through the center region.

4: Shape your void > typology

Whereas the public voids give identity to the public space, private voids give the newly attracted younger inhabitants the opportunity to grow and be unique. A 3 x 9 meter freezone is given every dwelling instead of a backyard or terrace. The residents are therefore given the opportunity in time to build more inner space when for instance there family grows, when they want to start a private office or when they need to have space for hobby’s. This typology strategy does not only give the opportunity to shape your own void, it ensures an urban character to the public space since backyards, and therefore backsides, do not exist.

Extrapolating the strategy to the south center region of Emmen

The lost vertical connections between the city center and the south center region are restored and emphasized by downsizing the Van Schaikweg and adding a grid of trees and building mass. The chaotic city plan transforms into a clear city pattern where the south is connected to the city center instead of being isolated from it. The existing quality of the green open void next to the church is emphasized. A pattern of smaller voids is added and programmatically activated to create a network of intimate public space. Informal ‘dérive’s’ occur between the formal vertical connectors where people can let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the en- counters they find in the created colorful living area.

Residential-complexes