I remember, we where still kids and played outside on the streets and squares to meet other kids. One day there was a man that started shouting at me. I was scared and rushed to my dad. My dad sad that there where no scary people and walked to the spot where I met the shouting man. I stayed at home because I was scared.
But then my dad didn’t came back. What if he got eaten by the scary man?! I found the courage to go safe my dad! There he was, with the shouting man. The man was a boy, my dad sad, just bigger then me, with jeu de la tourette, a disease that he shouts a lot. But he wanted to be my friend. The shouting man sad: ‘Sorry, it just happens sometimes, I didn’t want t scare you.’
Listening to otherones story helps you to understand. Creating a agora on public ground creates a possibility to meet. You have your personal ground to feel safe on, your house, you office, the usual, the safe. But the public space will be there to confront you with other visions, other ideas, other people. Meeting an other gives an option to listen, the more you listen the more you know. An (uncomfortable) encounter of options, a parcour, a maze to find your way, to reconsider your way.
The square concept is based on a a singular element, the column, a architectural element that symbolises both human scale as power. A pillar or column is there for support (of a building) or as a trophy or memorial. The Totem-pilars are a common image of a sculpture-like pillar that caries the symbols of figures. For me this representeded diversity, an personal opinion and perspective aswell. Historicly speaking these totems tell you about the tribes itself that builded them and about it’s cultural beliefs. Sharing your ideas by a architectural element.
But also in more western believes the collumns and trees are represented as a gateway to the Abode of the Blessed and signify wisdom, strength and beauty.
The animation shows the conceptual use of the labyrinth-like placement of the squares pilars. A labyrinth is a maze where there is only one way to the middle, but you can get still get lost in the journey, but more in a mental way. It’s a symbol of power and guidance. Many cultures and religions used the labyrinth in different ways.
“In Greek mythology, the labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur eventually killed by the hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.”
– Doob, Penelope Reed (1992). The Idea of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-80142-393-7., p. 36
But you also find them in Medieval times and chirche buildings. Walking the labirinth there referse to the journey you have to go in order to reach your goal.
My interpretation of the labirinth is more open. The visiter is not forced to walk the labirinth to the middle, it is guides but has plenty of options to chose herself/himself because of the open structure of the collumns. It becomes more a playfull meeting ground with different encounters of people. The collumns are free to use and interprete for the visitor of the square.
The elements of a working square, as Willem H. White researched in ‘Social life of small urban spaces’, are that there should be sittable space, streets, sun, food, water, trees and triangulation. So when I implimented my concept on the Prins Hendrikplein better known as ZeeHelden kwartier, I wanted to make sure these elements where represented on the square. The collumns give the feeling of trees, but are in places also sitable and inbrace but also break the triangulation. For example the ATM that is on the square is surrounded by high dense pillars to create a clearly overviewable space for a safe feeling. But the crossing of the two biggerst streets is the most dense kwarter of the square to invite people to walk the easy way to the centre where there is more possibility to meet people from the more quit streets.
Streets and food where already there so I made them participate in the plan. The Savanna bar get’s a terras possibility with low collumns, the PastaKantine a lower waiting area arround the fontein. Because water was the lost element of the list. So I implimented four fontein in the middle of every kwarter to create an other, less open end prominent architectural moment to meet.