Video Chronicle

WOW Amsterdam
27 August 2015


What do we do about constructivist buildings that used to seat large institutions and now host offices of small firms? How do we reconsider the functions and purpose of buildings built to provide for processes not needed any longer? An urban expert from Amsterdam Kees van Ruyven tried to answer these questions during the "Days of Modernism at City Hall: Architecture, Urban Visions, Heritage".

His lecture on "Project WOW Amsterdam: Acupuncture for Depressed Regions" took place at Ratusha restaurant on Thursday, August, 27, 2015. The event will also be attended by Nadezhda Nilina who has worked a lot on urban planning projects, such as in Rotterdam.

As of today, Amsterdam has over 800,000 citizens. The city is growing fast. It is a big logistical, financial, cultural and obviously tourist center of the Netherlands and entire Europe. At the same time, it is impressive that you can find here a large number of unoccupied empty buildings (from forlorn schools to plants and factories that function no more). Transformation of these empty urban spaces is presently a priority of local and national policy. Reconsideration of functions of these buildings will allow Amsterdam to become a center of innovation and modern art, and also to find opportunities for comfortable accommodation for artists, students, etc.

The project "WOW Amsterdam" is implemented in one of the depressed regions of the city erected in the 1950s in the spirit of constructivism. Today, here is a powerful cultural center of the city where local inhabitants closely cooperate with other population of the quarter such as emigrants from Morocco and Turkey.

Project curator Kees van Ruyven talked more on challenges and success stories of "WOW Amsterdam".

Kees van Ruyven has worked over 30 years in Amsterdam as a coordinator responsible for development and transformation of large urban spaces such as the new bank of Amsterdam. He is an independent advisor and initiator of projects that give creative impetus to the city districts. He also worked at reconstruction of the capital of Nicaragua (Managua) destroyed by the earthquake. Author of books on urban planning, teaches at many universities. Founder of agency "Kees van Ruyven Stadsontwikkeling". Coauthor of the book "Lviv, a City of Paradoxes" (2014).

Nadezhda Nilina is a leading lecturer at the module "Problems of Urbanism" of Moscow Architectural School MARCH (independent school in close cooperation with London Metropolitan University). Architect, urban specialist, civil activist. Studied at the "Parsons" school of design of Massachusetts Technological Institute. She has worked for many years in the USA and Europe. Since 2011, she has worked in the bureau "KCAP Architects & Planners" (Rotterdam) where she manages urban planning projects. She also worked as an independent consultant of UNESCO. Member of International Society of City and Regional Planners ISOCARP.