OverHolland: Architectural studies for the Dutch city
OverHolland — Architectural studies for Dutch cities is a series published by the Department of Architecture at the Delft University of Technology. The editors plan to publish two issues a year. The field of architectural research covered by the series includes both typological and morphological urban studies and the question of architectural interventions in the context of Dutch cities.The first issue explores the problems, and reports on the ‘Transformers of the European city conference, with contributions by architects Jo Coenen, Alber-to Ferlenga, Hans Kollhoff and Bob van Reeth.
Randstad Holland, Green Metropolis and Delta Metropolis are concepts that have been used by planners to define Holland as a metropolis. Proposals for the expansion of towns and cities, infrastructural works, ecological corridors, recreation areas and high-value urban hubs have been grafted on to this planning model by landscape and urban designers. At the end of this chain of virtual productions, it is the task of architecture to supply images and devise programmatic means of filling in ‘the shapes’.The problem here is the lack of a concrete vision of things: anarchipelago of Dutch cities in a suburban wetland, ratherthan the fiction of a potential metropolis.
Dutch cities are unique in the European context, and study of their development may make a significant contribution to the knowledge of the European city. However, OverHolland has opted for a project-based approach, focusing on the role of architectural projects in the transformation of Dutch cities. Currently, the main tasks are restructuring and renewal. This involves large numbers of projects in the most varied situations, in communities with autonomous powers of decision, and hence calls for an approach that takes full account of local settings and potentialities.
The theoretical focus in OverHolland will be on possible links between urban analysis and architectural design. The research conducted over recent decades has yielded a range of conflicting views and insights on the subject, raising all kinds of questions that will be highlighted and examined in-depth in OverHolland.
Note for the English-speaking reader: The ring-shaped conurbation of the western Netherlands is known in Dutch as theRandstad (literally ‘RimCity’). It is centred on the provinces of North and South Holland, and in Dutch the name ‘Holland’normally refers to this part of the country rather than the Netherlands as a whole. The same distinction has been maintained in the English edition of this series — in other words, ‘Holland’and ‘the Netherlands’ are not synonymous. The adjective ‘Dutch’ presents more of a problem since it refers to the whole of the country and English offers no convenient alternative. Here, however, ‘Dutch’ will normally be used in the same restricted sense as ‘Holland’.