You may have noticed that when we shoot architecture, from private houses to grand public buildings, we generally try and keep pesky people out of the picture. However well-dressed or easy on the eye, they just distract and get in the way. We like the way things look pre-population, but that does deny an obvious truth. Architecture has to work for the people who live or work in it. On page 120, writer Ellen Himelfarb visits the Bijlmermeer, a massive housing project in south-east Amsterdam which celebrates its 50th birthday this year. It was built in concrete with utopian underpinnings but too little money. There were some bad ideas. It was criss-crossed by high-flying highways and walking or finding anywhere was a nightmare. Promises were not kept, gardens were abandoned, playgrounds and shops never appeared. And the Bijlmer, as the area is known, quickly became a byword for drugs, destitution and the essential arrogance of urban planning. Now, a mix of sensitive architectural renewal, some judicious demolition, outside interventions (the arrival of a contemporary art museum) and more organic, tenant-led innovations (a food market among them) have revived the Bijlmer’s fortunes. People, all sorts of people, want to live there. Regeneration is a loaded word these days (so many are) and it’s a difficult subject. Earlier this year we received some online heat for a story about the planned second life of Ernö Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower in east London. Renewal is read as social cleansing and vice versa. And the future of last century’s large-scale social housing projects is a vital and fractious debate in cities around the world. The Grenfell Tower tragedy reminded us just how vital. I’m sure some people will take issue with our Bijlmer story too (outrage is everywhere now and cheapened). I like to think that more people will find it enlightening and perhaps even hopeful.
The KRAAIENNEST METRO STATION In The Bijlmermeer DISTRICT OF AMSTERDAM, A HOUSING PROJECT THAT MARKS ITS 50Th Anniversary THIS year. renovated In 2013 By MLA+ And MACCREANOR LAVINGTON ARCHITECTS, The METRO STATION FEATURES A decorative ENCLOSURE By FROUKJE TACONIS. See OUR STORY On PAGE 120
Limited-edition cover by Katharina GrosseThe German artist created our special cover and is interviewed on page 084. She also serves up her favourite recipe for our Artist’s Palate series, page 186Limited-edition covers are available to subscribers, see Wallpaper.comWallpaper* is printed on UPM Star, upm.com
Newsstand cover Photography: François CoquerelEntertaining Director: Melina KeaysInteriors: Olly MasonFor interiors credits and our full Italian-inspired feast, see page 140