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The reconversion processes of abandoned architectures are now a well-known theme, which if applied to ordinary buildings and spaces involves a phase of ‘listening’ to concepts that are not always immediate and definitive. In this perspective, I have therefore tried to identify factors (physical, territorial and cultural) that would avoid giving subjective interpretations on the ordinary character or not of an architecture.
Following this approach, an investigation was carried out into the state of abandonment of the Kempering garage, a typical ordinary building created for the ‘quantity without quality’, where some pre-existing social and cultural phenomena, think of the everyday object as an expression of memory and identity, to be preserved.
With the aim of identifying a functional recovery practice it was necessary to assess the degree of resilience and transformability of the building. It turned out that the existing architectural heritage gives freedom to innovation and that through the practice of adaptive reuse it is possible to represent new ways of making architecture, restoring identity to places while also ensuring new sustainable developments.
In order to bring back a daily sense to the new Kempering garage it was essential to identify a characterization consistent with the place, able to encourage an ordinary use, and at the same time extraordinary, the building. It is well known that cycling is an authoritative carrier of social and economic changes and of how much it is an activity more than daily and characteristic in the Dutch scenario. These concepts, that are translate on the possibility of cycling inside the building, arbitrarily converge in a future perspective, which sees the city of Amsterdam as the world capital of cycling 2.0.
The Bijlmermeer district, based on urban, social and historical analyses, has shown that, despite the significant improvements, there is still room for regeneration initiatives, especially related to cycling. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Kraiennest district, the exactly location where the Kempering garage is located, is an urban area in search of the true identity for its residents often born between two cultures, the Dutch and the migrant. Whereas such a result is only achievable when the user approaches the built environment and makes full use of its spaces, the project has adapted to the immediate neighbourhood, in terms of both functions and programmes, inspired partly by the social contribution of religious communities and in part by the cultural contribution of the new Bijlmer Museum. The recovery action aims precisely at the concreteness of daily life and the transformations that the neighbourhood is already experiencing, proposing a sustainable ‘green’ building, open to all community through its public spaces.
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