CUltural Platform Katendrecht
The CUP started as a CUltural Platform which gradually transformed into a temporary promenade. The newly built glowing spine enhances the importance of the city’s waterfront, emphasizing the fact that Rotterdam is one of the biggest harbours in the world. In the actual situation the waterfront is inter-rupted making it hardly possible to enjoy the beauty of booming high rises on one side and the rough-ness of warehouses on the other.
The history of CUP goes back to autumn 2011 when the cultural manifest “Nederland schreeuwt om cultuur” travelled through the Netherlands stressing the continuing importance of art and culture during an economic turmoil. Another major influence to the project had the artist Annelies Bakker, who’s main purpose was to offer a place for young artists where they could exhibit their work and introduce new waves and streams in art and culture. These influences, together with the question “How can architects support the actual cultural scene?” were the first starting impulses to the CUP project.
The public space is seen as potential place for act. Because of its current missing qualities, emptiness and mono-functional use as a parking place, the little harbour of Rijnhaven in Rotterdam was a logic site to demonstrate that idea. The space of the waterfront was defined by waterline, facade of existing urban volumes or infrastructure. To demonstrate the process of (re)connecting Rijnhaven into a great city promenade, one of the biggest public spaces of the site was selected to place “the first action point”, to see how it interacts with the public and its surrounding. Due to certain difficulties with the local theatre group and the local municipality’s non official bureaucratic behaviour the promenade had to be built for 3 days only or to be moved “somewhere else”. The given reason was “not enough space on the public square of 4500 m2” while the CUP mock-up had an area of circa 30 m2.
Fortunately a thoughtful neighbour took pity on that unfair situation and offered his private ground for the CUP mock-up.
From a distance you might wonder “What is it?” Lanterns or sails combined with some sort of bamboo or wooden construction? And what is the purpose of that creature? From an architectural point of view it is a very simple, archetypical structure based on re-cycled materials coming from the harbour industry. The main ingredients are disposable cardboard tubes and FIBC industrial bags all found “on the spot”.
One might say that building up something based on no budget but big ideas is nowadays impossible. Especially when the intention is to break old stereotypes or barriers and connect what is un-connectable, or to try to cooperate with unwilling parties. I have only one answer: “Everything is possible, you just have to believe in it.”
With all the passion and love many thanks to you who truly helped me to realize this dream!