Charlois aan het Water
Making city together
In 2011 Vitibuck Architects was asked by inhabitants of Charlois to think with them about the re-use of the former wasteincinerator, a huge landmark along the waterfront of the Maashaven. This was the start of an urban experiment and an action-research for the transformation of this former industrial area with partly empty buildings and neglected public spaces along the waterfront. Divided from the city center by the river Maas, Rotterdam Zuid (south of Rotterdam) has special attention as a social and spatial development area from both the city and the state.
The strip along the south side of the Maashaven is dominated by harbour related companies. In recent years a lot of these companies close or leave the strip. So did the former waste incinerator AVR. We were asked by inhabitants to think with them about possible re-use and transition of the factory and its surrounding. This was the start of an urban experiment together with a historian and a theatre company.
How can you develop a former harbour area together with inhabitants and the companies who are sitting there? How can you make people realize the opportunities and the potential of such an area? How can you generate understanding for each other’s interests and come to a common interest?
As a first sign of change we initiated a one-day event on site. For one day the the wasteincinerator opened its fences and people could enter. A re-cycle port was designed as a symbol for this unique opening. 500 inhabitants and other interested guests from Rotterdam attended the event.
We used the event to ask people about their dreams and their ideas for the waterfront. Interviews with inhabitants, entrepreneurs, the Port Authority and the municipality followed. Within a serie of workshops we brought together all the stakeholders to define together strategic scenario’s for the re-development of the area. Through programming of an empty warehouse by theatre performances played by inhabitants of the area, we showed possible re-use of the empty buildings.
In June 2013 there was an exhibition presenting the results of the research and a public debate, where a publication of the research is handed to the alderman of Rotterdam-South for future actions.