TANGRAM ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN LANDSCAPE is founded in 1990 by Charlotte ten Dijke and Bart Mispelblom Beyer.
They are known for their inventive urban densification projects. In 1989 Charlotte and Bart won the prestigious Europan 1 design competition for young architects with an innovative nomadic housing project. That became the starting point of their office.
Since its foundation, TANGRAM has been involved in architecture, urban design and research. Themes that are increasingly on the agenda today are anchored in the agency’s DNA: urban densification, the many dimensions of sustainability, the livable and green city, mixed use, flexibility (adaptability) and the crucial relationship between buildings and open space.
As a result of their passion for sustainble design, Charlotte and Bart are specialized in “puzzling”, intelligent compacting. With that quality, they are able to achieve a lot, even at complex urban locations.
Hence the name Tangram, derived from the Chinese puzzle (tangram) that consists of 7 pieces (tans) and with which an infinite number of shapes can be made.
THE MOST INTERESTING SOLUTIONS ARE FOUND IN THE ZONE WHERE URBAN DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE COME TOGETHER
The built environment comes to life where various scales overlap: urban, landscape (streets, courtyards and squares) and architectural. The city can function on various social levels if its streetfunctions, and those of its buildings, are well connected.
Over the coming decades the world’s population will rise from 7 to 9 billion people. This means a weekly increase of one million people, all of whom need living space. Research has shown that the majority of these people will end up living in around existing urban areas. Future generations therefore face the important task of ensuring that urbanization takes place in a responsible manner. After all, this massive process of urbanization calls for new concepts the integration of nature within city boundaries to benefit food supply, water management, energy production and more.
TOP DOWN AND BOTTOM UP
In the Netherlands an increase of about one million new residential units is expected for the coming 25 years- most of which will be built in the part that is called “Randstad”- the already strongly urbanised region fom Amsterdam, Utrecht, den Haag and Rotterdam. This estimation roughly indicates an increase of 450 miilion sqft of programme. The larger part of this addition will find a place within the existing cities boundaries. This is much more than an urban design task. The process will take place in an complex process which calls for strong municipal and governmental leadership. This cannot be done without bottom up participation.
GREEN AND WATER IN A DENSE CITY
The city can be considered as a layered system made up of spatial components such as morphology, infrastructure, networks of greenery and water, and socio-economic factors such as population composition, income and education levels, and ownership structures. Water and greenery play a particularly key role as spatial layers at all scales in a densely built-up environment.
A good balance in the functioning of the city can only be achieved with the right mixture of social, economic and physical components. These relate to health, life skills, education, access to the labour market, and income. Sustainable urban life is ultimately facilitated by the physical composition of urban space, buildings and infrastructure. The sustainable, physical dimension concerns the construction of buildings and infrastructure, and has many variables: time (flexibility and adaptation), material (application, purchase, transport, reuse or degradability), energy (consumption, generation and storage), ecology (value to ecosystems), and the smart use of available space – a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce all over the world.
The world is facing a sharp rise in population. Increasing the density of urban fabric is the only solution to the problem of increased demand for housing. Is this a nightmare? Not in the slightest! A high-quality dense city can very well be achieved if its design responds to the diffuse boundary between urban design and architecture. After all, such a city is not about buildings alone, but the space between them.
CONTRAST IS ESSENTIAL
The blurring of the boundaries between the built-up and the undeveloped areas results in ‘frayed edges’ that all too often degenerate into clutter and a lack of clarity. The development of starker contrasts, between densely built-up areas and clearly delineated public space within the urban fabric and the boundless space of the surrounding landscape, can contribute to the achievement of higher-quality, more distinctive characteristics.
DESIGNING WITH WATER
Water is a frequently recurring theme in our buildings. Water moves and connects, creates space between elements, acts as a privacy buffer, contributes to climate control, and creates space by reflecting light and images. Water can deceive and reassure. Water is an ideal design element.