This is going to be the first tax evasion landscape in Europe, maybe even in the world. It will be in a remote corner of Europe, in the northeast of Estonia, in the town of Aidu near the Russian border. Other than the country’s usual lakes and forests (about half of Estonia is covered with trees) Aidu has one unique selling point: 20 meters under the limestone in the ground, there is oil shale. To get to it, the mines have exploded tons of limestone. With this waste product, architecture firm KTA has created a landscape of sculpted pyramids, ancient and futuristic at the same time. Read the article…
For the June edition of Architectural Record I went to the new Generator Amsterdam. This mix of a hotel and a hostel is located on the edge of a park in the up-and-coming eastern part of town, this reflects the spread of tourism beyond the historic center – a trend that has been encouraged by the city, which has been greatly restricting hotel permits since the fall of 2013.
With its surprising combination of old and new architecture, bursts of local art and design, and a clever hotel formula that attracts a wide-ranging crowd. Generator has brought a new kind of flair to Amsterdam’s flourishing tourism scene.
The Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016. HEYU! Urbans is part of a talkshow series of the Public Library of Amsterdam (OBA). The OBA asked me to invite and discuss the urban challenges of today with six prominent thinkers, one a month from six cities in and around the EU in the live talkshow HEYU! Urbans. Literature critic Margot Dijkgraaf invites 12 of the best European writers for HEYU! Writers. Guests include David Madden (London), Stavros Stavrides (Athens), Marten Kaevats (Tallinn), Francesc Muñoz Ramírez (Barcelona), Tuna Kuyucu (Istanbul) and the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan.
The Straits Times of Singapore wrote an article about my lecture with the title ‘Tackle floods? Create more space for water’. I gave this lecture, called ‘Water – Holland’s ‘Frenemy’, on February 18th for the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore.
The Netherlands is known for its control over water. But now that the climate is changing, the Dutch are also changing their approach towards water management. In cities more space is being created for water, the landscape is being redesigned to let water in and sometimes the dikes are even being lowered. Water is becoming a friend instead of an enemy – or better said, frenemy.
Read the article…