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The Edge Effect

Part 2 Project 2011
Froukje Van De Klundert
Hogeschool Rotterdam Rotterdam The Netherlands
The architecture of the Edge Effect rethinks the, often overlooked, place of youth in society. Conventionally youth culture takes place on the streets, while education is confined to the school. The Dutch concept of the Extended school blurs the boundaries¬¬ between society, education, the city and the school by absorbing a wider programme into the school building. Society is hospitably invited into education as a learning environment and youth’s societal participation as a goal. Yet the school itself remains institutional.

Not entirely coincidental, educational experiments are mostly confined to white middle class and the better off working migrant neighbourhoods. What would happen if we would literally inject one of the most plagued immigrant neighbourhoods of Rotterdam with a strip consisting of the latest educational ideas turned into an architectural project? Tarwewijk is a void in the educational map of Rotterdam, lacking a secondary school and other youth facilities, while the educational level is low. Cutting a cross-section through the thirties former working class fabric, replacing run down housing with the architecture of contemporary educational concepts and programme aimed at the street roaming youth.

Nonlinear system theory describes the edge effect as the tipping point of one phase into another, like in ecology forests giving way to meadows. The Edge Effect employs programmatic and architectural complexity as a means to blend urban and school life, the hypothesis being talent development taking place at the fringes. The school is not segmented into slices of life, but its compartments are more a diffuse membrane along and through which the educational programme flows in different forms. Conventional existing workers dwellings intersect the school walls while communal programme is shared along the plans axis, both within and outside the building walls. Architecture is not considered a closed off entity but a zone where different atmospheres are introduced by the workings of different materials, routes and uses. It renders the conventions and rules of society visible through the building.

Froukje Van De Klundert


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