The summerschool is an initiative from four schools located on the banks of the Rhine River. This year was be the third edition of the summerschool in Arnhem; the first was in 2013 in Strasbourg; the second edition was in 2014 in Kostanz. The central theme of the summerschools is the relation of the city with the Rhine River. Each year +- 8 students from each city come together to work in small groups on a design. Besides the 25 students there are 2 tutors/teachers from each city.
In line with the idea of the Arnhem Institute of Architecture that ‘making’ is an important way in developing a design – and because ‘making’ is big fun – this years summerschool focused on a hands‐on way of working. We worked with different kind of materials on models up to scale 1:1. Working with models means experimenting and trying, reflecting and adjusting, and, hopefully, getting a feel for the different materials in relation to the specific design challenges.
The design brief for the summerschool was twofold: ‘floating’ and ‘pavilion’.
The town of Arnhem gave a number of great pavilions to the world. Think for example of the pavilions from Rietveld and Van Eyck, that are now part of the sculpture garden of the Kröller‐Müller Museum. These beautiful pavilions have been made for the Sonsbeek exhibitions that will be held again in 2016.
From an architectural point of view, the ‘pavilion’ is an interesting contemporary laboratory for innovation and research. One could say the pavilion is to today architects what the housing floor plan was to the modernists.
During the summerschool the students investigated the idea of a pavilion from a fundamentally experimental point of view. A little specific tweak will helped them to do so: the pavilion had to float in the River Rhine.
Located at the very end of the rivers Rhine and Meuse the country of The Netherlands is situated for large parts under see level. Hence, in anticipation of the upcoming climate changes – and because it is big fun – Dutch architects developed a certain expertise in floating architectures, from the traditional Amsterdam houseboats, to futuristic floating pavilions, bicycle paths and swimming gardens. So, the assignment was to conceive and build a number of floating structures or platforms on the banks or on the water of the Rhine River. This includes dealing with waterproofing techniques, the weight balance and gravity points, but also the ultimate self-proof in the waters of the river Rhine: the floating structure had to carry at least one student in or above water.
The floating pavilions had to be constructed with different recycle materials. An additional challenge was that they had to be dismountable for transport to Rotterdam in a bus.
To visit Rotterdam, or better, the 2e Maasvlakte at the last kilometer of the Rhine river was one of the ultimate goals of this summerschool.
In the pictures below an impression of the six days of the summerschool, 12th – 17th July 2015.