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Building a new town (amidst the old one). New Oberhausen: a positive and subversive project

Text: Stefan Ghenciulescu
Foto: Rainer Schlautmann, Sebastian Asiedu

Which things make a city? But what about a good city? In September, a dragon, a chewing gum museum, a storyteller with love letters, a garden in the middle of the street and several other invaders slipped into a city of the Ruhr and questioned its identity and future. I was visiting the new city proposed by curators and artists and this is my story about it.  


Edito: Anno 1947

Text: Ştefan Ghenciulescu
Photo: Dan Purice

What caught my eye from a distance was a small modernist building in Timişoara – simple, elegant, dainty and thus highly representative of our nice and moderate interbel¬lum. It was only when I came within a few feet of the building that I was able to notice the Art Deco monogram indicating the construction date—a typical feature of those times. That’s when I froze—the year did not belong to the 1930s, as I had expected. It was 1947. The inter-war building had not in fact been built during the inter-war period. Its owners finalized its construction and flaunted it in front of the whole world the very same year their own universe fell apart.


Abruptarhitectura: A wooden church and its bell tower.

A small community, in a recent district belonging to a provincial romanian town, Mizil, gets its wooden church.

Project, text, photo: Abruptarhitectura – Cristina Constantin, Cosmin Pavel

Caught between the highway and the railway, plans for the new district appeared immediately after the revolution. Thus the authorities tried to regulate the people’s reawakened need for building a house. The place was called either “Han” (“Inn”), based on the name given to a nearby manor house, or “Dallas”, based on the fantasies of the era.


Public places on a shelf. Low-cost flexible university building on the Paris-Saclay University campus

At the 2014 Awards Ceremony for projects in Europe at the Holcim Awards (now LafargeHolcim Awards), this was one of the works that impressed me most. Although, at the time, all you could see were plans and renders, the architectural and urban idea was clear and strong: an elementary frame, coherent, flexible and cheap, designed o shleter, bring together and celebrate public activities. No parametric fireworks or populist collage here, just a no-nonsense and robust construction, whose beauty lies in proprtion and light; a good example of a sustainable concept that does not rely  on gadgets , but on strategy and a capacity to endure and evolve. (Ștefan Ghenciulescu)


Open Border. Warming Hut on the Red River Mutual Skate Trail

In a time when we only hear about walls, this is a very different kind of wall. One that shows that you can talk in a nice way about very serious things and merge utility and art installation. Atelier ARI’s wall is accessible and shelters instead of repelling, it’s a barrier that becomes a place (Z.)


A roof to live under. House in Molco

The roof breaks away from the house; ther house rises above the ground; windows, doors and shutters slide in all directions; the construction is light, transparent and sets ina most delicate way in a spendid landscape. The house in Molco is an almost didatic example of how to work today with modernist principles. (Z.)


If we architects really want to change the city, we have to….

… accept that there is no recipe, but there might well be some sensible principles. The situation is dire, our profession is in crisis and attacked from all parts. We are forced to redefine it, says Oana Bogdan, but that may be a blessing in disguise. A sharp and well-documented essay about work, the market, responsibility, identity and 7 steps for change.


Europe for Citizens: New Europe – Cities in Transition

Pakhuis de Zwijger’s project “New Europe – Cities in Transition” was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme “Europe for Citizens“, measure 2.2: “Network of Towns”.

A total of 5 activities were carried out as part of New Europe – Cities in Transition under the Europe for Citizens programme.


Cristián Axl Valdés: House on the Top

Project, text: Cristián Axl Valdés
Photographs: Natalia Franco, Leo Basoalto

Curanipe is a small coastal town in the middle part of Chile; it is a territory of subsistence agriculture, artisanal fishing and summer tourism. In this place, two couples owned a site far away from the sea, but, in return, blessed with panoramic views towards the ravine of Chovellén River. The terrain lies is on the highest point of the ravine, from where the slope descends gently to the sea and abruptly to the river.


Eco‑Chilia. Reintegration Centre in the Danube Delta

The ensemble of ecological buildings is part of the project “Setting-up an eco-reintegration mechanism for inmates” that addresses the inmates who are coming from a disadvantaged environment and with a low level of education and aims to facilitate their access to rehabilitation programs and further their reintegration in society, providing them with new skills in niche crafts such as ecological construction, carpentry, wooden boats building, wickery and pottery.


Stories from Bucharest South. #1 Rahova / Antiaeriană

Text: Mihai Duţescu
Photo: Andrei Mărgulescu

I am 36 years old and I was born in Alexandria, Teleorman County. Alexandria is a town with a population of about 50,000, located south of Bucharest; that’s an hour’s drive on an ordinary day, when pigs are not slaughtered in the countryside or it’s not the Day of the Dead, in spring or autumn.


The Urban River Corridors of Bucharest – International Design Workshop

5-10 March 2017, Bucharest

Both Dâmbovița and Colentina went through radical transformations throughout their history, yet their presence is hardly felt in the city. Dâmbovița changed, after a two-phased transformation, from a meandering wetland to a canal that today is completely absent from the mental maps of the citizens, whereas Colentina was slowly cut off from the city by an uncontrolled process of piecemeal lake-side privatisation. Besides the obvious need of draining the water through the city, neither one or the other seems to have an overall coherence.