In collaboration with JOHANNA HIMMELSBACH
Designing the Social
Het Nieuwe Instituut
installation: video, sitting pit, signs
Commissioned to research the social design of Dutch community centres in Rijkscollectie voor Nederlandse Achitectuur, I came across the work of Frank van Klingeren, whose societal vision manifested itself in three consecutive multi-functional and user-driven community centres. Conceived as ‘Indoor Agoras’ these centres provided a space for new communities where a range of activities could take place alongside each other: sport, theatre, market, schools and churches. The annoyance this overlap caused was embraced as the backbone of community building - people meet, learn from each other, confront each other, and celebrate together.
Seen from the contemporary perspective - an atomised society, where civic debate takes place within bubbles of like-minded people - his concepts of the Agora, hindrance and decluttering seem to ask actual and valuable questions.
The Community Centre
The heart of this installation is a video that develops a narrative around the three experimental community centres designed by Frank van Klingeren:
De Meerpaal / Dronten
Agora / Lelystad
’T Karregat / Hazenbroeken
Using blueprints, models and publications from the Rijkscollectie and interviews with the very charismatic Van Klingeren as well as contemporary users of the spaces, we sketch the development from conception, and initial ecstatic success to decay and destruction, renovation or transformation.
Through these case studies, I unravel the underlying societal vision of van Klingeren, and how these experiments in collectivity are being reframed as a failure today.
concept, research and design
Uta Eisenreich, Johanna Himmelsbach
La chinoise by Theetat Thunkijjanukij
Johanna Himmelsbach, So-Yeon Kim
advice collection material
Christoph Grafe, Ruth Höppner, Shirin Rezaee, Karin Arendsen (Boost)
Ina Hollmann, Flora van Gaalen
Designing the Social / The Community Centre