During my study at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, where I followed ‘Interior Architecture‘, I had a big interest in urban neighborhoods and areas that were in transition. Especially in a time of high vacancy and economic crisis, I found it interesting to see what else was possible with the spatiality. Not only inside but also outside. It was therefore quickly clear to me that, after seeing a presentation by Sabrina Lindemann about her working methods in urban areas, I wanted to follow an internship at her.
In 2002, Sabrina Lindemann started with her Mobile Project Bureau OpTrek, a laboratory for experiments with other ways of urban development. As an Urban Curator she studies urban areas that are in transition and contributes in her own way to the redevelopment of these areas. By using existing potentials and qualities in an area and the design and implementation of interventions, she tries to initiate new development impulses. For example, she is responsible for the Hotel Transvaal project, in which the entire Transvaal district in The Hague was transformed into a hotel. Empty houses were used as hotel rooms and existing facilities in the district suddenly became the hotel’s facilities.
After Transvaal, Sabrina started to work in 2011 in the Binckhorst, an industrial area in The Hague. The municipality initially had large-scale building plans for this area: 7,000 homes would be built. Because of the financial crisis, those plans ultimately did not continue. The municipality decided to develop the area ‘organic‘. Something that Sabrina found an interesting starting point. she wanted to apply the practical experiences she had gained in the Transvaal in a more strategic way in the organic development of the Binckhorst.
She moved with her office to the Binckhorst and talked to as many people as possible. Quickly she found out that there was a lot of potential and that many entrepreneurs wanted to do something, but they did not know each other well. Sabrina started to organize a low-threshold platform that could be used in the form of monthly network meetings. The aim was to build a community within the Binckhorst. In this way, people could get to know each other and collaborations could develop, allowing the local economy to get moving again. Sabrina has therefore also set up the ReSourceCity project where new products and services develop by establishing connections between different companies. This process creates also added value for the area.
In the meantime it has been a couple of years since I visited the Binckhorst weekly. What would the area look like now? During my visit in the Netherlands last week, I decided to visit this industrial area in The Hague again to find out.
A lot is happening in the Binckhorst. The economic crisis has stablished up and new plans have been made. In the coming years, 5,000 homes will be built. With a small castle from the 17th century around the corner and 3 ports in the neighborhood, it is not a standard residential area. The first steps for housing have been taken with: the redevelopment of the Junoblok, Binck Eiland, Maanplein and Kavel 1.
New innovative companies, artisans, creative entrepreneurs and companies with a social meaning are known with the Binckhorst. There are also several multi-tenant buildings in the Binckhorst where many entrepreneurs have established their business, such as Bink 36, De Besturing (the complex where OpTrek is also located), Caballerofabriek and Mooof. The Binckhorst offers a lot of space for start-ups and companies with a focus on sustainability, the circular economy and / or social significance.
The 3 ports in the Binckhorst: Binckhaven, Poolsterhaven and Fokkerhaven still play an important role in the area. Both for the economy and appearance.
The construction of the Rotterdamsebaan and the redevelopment of the Binckhorstlaan ensure the success of developments in the Binckhorst and optimal accessibility of the area. This will soon be one of the best accessible areas in the entire region. The work around the construction of the Rotterdamsebaan is in full swing. It will be opened mid-2020.
The Binckhorst is on the one hand exactly as it was, many same companies are still established, the industry is running through, behind the tall buildings are the same pearls and creative collective buildings attract a wider audience and provide variety in the program. In addition to everyday activities, the Rotterdamsebaan is being built and new programs and functions are being implemented in existing empty buildings. The transformation creeps in and will have a major impact on the area. The attractive place is not really visible yet for everybody, but that will not take very long anymore. In collaboration with investors and companies, a green and water-rich neighborhood is being developed, an attractive place to work, live and recreate. I can imagine it for sure.
For more information about the developments in the Binckhorst you can read about it here.