Studio trip to Amsterdam, Oct 2023

Previous NDSM shipyard. Photo by Miia Laur

Study trips are an important part of studying to be an architect in order to have a wider horizon and experience both in Estonia and in the world beyond the border.

Architecture and urban design students visited Amsterdam in connection with the fourth-year urban planning studio, to visit various projects and to continue their work with a more open mind when they return. 4th-year architecture and urban design student Miia Laur (AL20) shares her impressions.

What exactly did you do, what did you see?

In Amsterdam, we were given a tour by Jonathan Woodroffe and accompanied by supervisors Andres Ojari and Sean Thomas Tyler. There were many exciting places we came across. The old NDSM shipyard, which has been converted into a cultural center, and the Schoonschip Amsterdam, a floating neighborhood of 46 residential buildings, were particularly memorable. In addition, we visited the residential area of ​​Borneo-Sporenburg, which was very cool and unique.

As part of the independent task, we visited different objects in smaller groups. I went to explore the center of Almere (MY project) and Almere Oosterwold (MVRDV project).

The content of the project is a 43-square-kilometer land area, where a freer design and construction strategy (do-it-yourself urbanism) is tried, i.e. the residents there can have a say in the planning and do it themselves. Only a few restrictions have been placed on the project to preserve its rustic character. There were many unique homes there, and the course was very exciting.

How smoothly the trip went?

We had heavy rain and wind for most of the trip and the worst of it right on the main day of the tours. Despite this, we all lasted several hours with the help of raincoats and umbrellas.

How important is it for an architecture student to get out of the house to study?

I think it is very important. It’s easy to get stuck in old thought patterns and behind the computer in general. Traveling and seeing different projects inspires a lot and adds a lot to the work.

Sean Tyler adds:  “The collaborative architecture and urban studies studio reimagines spatial planning by shifting its focus from urban areas to the countryside in Tallinn’s periphery, where the pressing issues of economic, ecological, and political crises are rooted, taking a collaborative approach with state land, municipal-owned land, and affordable agricultural land to explore alternative regional futures that challenge market-driven development. Visiting professor and long-time Amsterdam resident, Jonathan Woodroffe took the studio for a very rainy walk on Friday through contested sites of development in North Amsterdam explaining the different socio-political dynamics, as well as urban and housing alternatives. On Saturday, students took to the trains and explored the regions outside of Amsterdam, engaging in fieldwork and analysis at a series of large-scale projects that rethink the periphery.”

The public finals for the studio take place on 21th December 2023 at A400.


Amsterdam photos by Miia Laur and Sean Tyler
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Posted by Tiina Tammet