Mach es dir gemutlich . Europan 12 . Regionale 2016

RunnerUp . Collectif Bingo!: Alice Hallynck, Edouard Cailliau, Marie-Hélène Merlin, Marion Verdière

Adaptable city is before all dependant of its actual inhabitants, and of those who will come in the future : the question is “adaptable to what? adaptable to who?” and can only be answered by a methodical and meticulous project, with a high awareness of the existing environment, its needs, its dreams, and its tools.

Make yourself at home !

Germany is well known for its knowledge of how good it is to feel at home : one untranslatable word explain that in german : the “Gemütlichkeit”.
To feel “gemütlich” is the feeling to be at home, to feel safe, to feel happy and calm, something like a shared quietness. Because german people are not using this word just in their own home: gemütlichkeit is often found in other spaces, like pleasant cafés, peaceful library, or even to qualify a good afternoon in the public parc.
This feeling is the starting point of our project : how to make the city gemütlich ? How could everyone feel at home in neighbourhoods made of private houses, even if they don’t live there?

Gemütlichkeit is a feeling which is very linked to the feeling of being welcomed.
We see in the neighbourhoods of Ahaus, Dorsten and Sürdkirchen, that there is an important culture of personalization : show me your house, I’ll tell you who you are !
This power of making the home his own space is exactly what we need for this project : to succeed in doing the city “gemütlich”, we have to find inhabitants involved in the quality of their neighbourhood, so as they will enjoy taking part into this new project to dynamize their district.
In such districts where the major part of space is privat space, the project has to be centered on privat owner’s decisions. That’s why we are not proposing a masterplan or a solution waiting to be applied, but a toolbox that could be used in the three (and more!) cities.

The idea is to move the living rooms, to put them in the gardens, in the front of houses, in the streets, so as to push the Gemütlichkeit out of the houses to dynamize public spaces, to cause new meetings, new situations that will make the city alive and attractive.
By including intimate spaces in the front of houses, or on the contrary shared places between private gardens, the way we discover the city is transformed : all these little interventions should help to trouble the only way to understand the city, and create a lot of new ways to live in it. There is no more the only opposition between the front of the house (public) et the back (private) but a lot of complex situations, making the whole city adaptable to every activities, every group of people who want to enjoy living in Ahaus, Dorsten or Sürdkirchen.

From the more intimate living room to the one adapted to welcome a lot of public, there are 9 categories of living rooms, tools to dynamize Ahaus, Dorsten and Südkirchen. These tools are seen like little injections of life that will spread all over the district. The dimension of the injection is always the same, but its scale is always different, depending on where it takes place.
The role of the architect is now changed : his job here is to manage all these little projects to make a recognizable ensemble, a project for and by the district, something people will be able to speak about and be proud to be a part of it.

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