Re­gen­er­a­tion game

Wallpaper - - Editor’s Letter - Nick Compton, Act­ing Ed­i­tor

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

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