In a lecture on the topic of cities of tomorrow Winy Maas opens by saying, “Dreams will be there to be developed by students. How we paint our cities is how they will look like and be interpreted.” Those are words of the world famous architect which tells how he is visioning the cities of tomorrow, but they are not just words. MVRDV as his architecture company is names have numerous projects around the world backing these words.
In Rotterdam MVRDV constructed a bridge reaching towards the sky. As a symbol of an elevated future which is accessible for everyone. The staircase is a steel and glass construction, but as it was adopted by the inhabitants and by-passers of Rotterdam it became much more. Activating events such as fashion shows, weddings, tourism e.g. the bridge became a activator of people.
The skybridge of Rotterdam is a example of Winy Maas’s vision of changing cities. Sights, areas and infrastructure as activators of people creates sparks and identity of cities. “Courage in the cities can activate a chain of activities in an area.” he says. change by change, spark by spark he wished to transform cities by organic change.
It’s a city out of connections, not blocks and towersWiny Maas
“Connections will stich the cities together. Don’t think in blocks and buildings, think in connections.” is how Winy Maas goes about doing architecture. He want to develop cities district by district, slowly sparking change. Using cheaper affordable accommodations for the middle class, transforming them into buildings interacting with their audience by e.g. skybridges is a vision they have in MVRDV. The believe that a mix of analog and technological interactions is where we are going.
Seoul, in South Korea, is another area where they prove their concepts in their doing. It previously was a grey city, until the mayor made a huge lawn in front of his house, accessible to everyone later leading to the project “sky garden” which was won by MVRDV in a competition. With small iterative steps they developed a system of buildings with varying plants surrounding and inhabiting them. Cafes, toilets, shops e.g. in a collection of building sized flower pots now creates a green sphere in districts of Seoul. Each “oasis” attracted heaps of locals and tourists further kickstarting the project by mere attention and interactivity. Now Seoul already is and envisions itself as a greener city making ripple effects of democratization.
“Could it be more dense, and more green”Winy Maas
More dense, more green, that’s where Maas wants cities development to head. With clear similarities to the mindsets of new urbanists and visionaries previous to him. His approach is change in one neighborhood at a time, affecting all it’s connections each time. Dreaming about the future possibilities will create sparks in fellow architects, designers and politicians as well as inhabitants in his opinion. Meaning putting action behind dreams small increments at a time will push us where we want to be in an organically manner.