Europan 11 Proposal: Diventare / ferrarifrongia

bird's eye view

The proposal by ferrarifrongia for the Deventer dock is to create a community pervaded by artistic spirit, a desire to build, house atmosphere, and play. The first intent of the project is to release the dock surface to become a beating heart of the new activity of the district. To follow this aim, a new building is conceived, suspended from the ground at a height of 6 meters. With its stereometric silhouette, the new building is a connection between the historic heritage (black silo, high silo, elevator), without brutalizing their facades, letting them breathe and respecting their historical value. The whole complex is pervaded by an artistic atmosphere with colored goedetic structures, which com-penetrate together with existing and new building, working as showcases in spreading color in the dock. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Diventare is an Italian word to say becoming, a word which implicates developing and transforming. With this in mind, coexistence of uses is proposed to guarantee not only the cohesion between the existent and new buildings but with social diversity. The program wants to achieve not a “closed private” intervention but an “open” mosaic of activities: living, working, production and promote culture, with the aim of create a virtuous developing process, focused on the local sources.

harbor square and main building

The neighborhood, in which people share outdoor activities and exchange experiences, contributes to create a higher intensity of social relations. Ground floor configuration transforms the vacant area into a large covered square, capable of hosting a variety of outdoor activities: fairs, concerts, markets and local festivals will be set in the covered dock square enclosed to the historic buildings and supported by the big semi spherical pavilion on the water.

entrance hall

Considering the dock as a outdoor recreational space, a new way of connection between outdoor and indoor activities was created: in the buildings adjacent to the black silo and in the ground floor of the High Silo are placed workshop and atelier with different dimension, dedicated to artist and craftsmen with emerging talent, which contribute to the development directly and indirectly to the district requalification. In this way, the outdoor spaces can be considered themselves as an exposition area of artistic products. The “young people laboratory” area becomes a meeting place and forum in which youngsters of different ages take part in cultural and creative activities supervised by experienced artists who already live or will live in the area. At the same time, children can experiment with the use of the color and the tact of materials in the kid zone, under the guidance of artists.


Green areas surround the dock, remarking the geometric language of the buildings, located relative to the best view of the waterfront in the relaxing moment. The water contact does not occur only visually, but also physically, through a declined wood pavement in the south east part of the dock, in front of the semisphere, which changes configuration as the tide rises and where people can lay on or touch the water surface. As a consequence of vocation of “new square harbor”, the parking place is designed in a underground area, accessible from the present Zuiderzeestraat, avoiding that cars could disturb the performance of artistic activities. A privileged access is reserved to bicycles, which occurs from the Northzeestraat, with an outdoor parking positioned in between the green areas.

main building plan

Main Building

silo plans

The functionality of the complex is connected to the capability to establishing itself in the territory, through the cultural activities on large scales, which have to guarantee the fruition of people from outside the neighborhood, to create a new cultural business pole. The increase of cultural activities is revealed in the first level, where in the main building, the functional mix of the proposed project is enhanced.

The main entrance from the dock’s level is developed through an escalator, which, starting from the reception in the semisphere, reaches directly to the exhibition area. The big sphere surrounds the escalator filtering the natural light into the ambient light of the new volume. The bearing structure drives the visitors into the paths throughout the spaces. During their route, the visitors perceive through the glass wall presence of the historical building (in particular the High Silo), which becomes a continuation of the main building’s space.

section 01

The east side of the new volume is dedicated to students’ dwellings, which, besides reach a high quality comfort due to the best orientation, are in strict contact with the cultural activities. Students can participate actively to the cultural project through self managing and self financial occupations, as working in the cafe/restaurant, in the bookshop or selling their artistic pieces through exposition. However, the housing privacy is guaranteed from a separate entrance into the Elevator building, which hosts as well residential facilities as collective kitchens, laundry room, etc.

section 02

As specified in the competition program, the Black Silo keeps a cultural vocation (function), lodging a public library in the dock level and an Auditorium in the 1st level straight connected with the expo area and recreation area of the main building. As a consequence of that, the silo is included in the function mix proposed, but without a deep development of its design details, according to the task. Lastly, with the Sustainability laboratory (in the north-west main building’s area), the new cultural activities are focused on innovation, as sustainable Development education, through a forum for climate and environment issues concerning about the connection between ecology , community culture, and economic improvement . Citizens became themselves part of the urban transformation of Haventkwartier with periodical exhibition in the adjacent expo areas, events, debates combined with research activities the can involve also students and young people who live in the new cultural pole.

volume diagram

The main building structure is realized by reticular metal beams which suspend it from the dock, at a height of 6 meters. The beams are as high as the building height and traverse it throughout its length. The choice of this kind of structure system was supported, besides functional and static reasons, also as recall of the image of the harbor structures. The beam system carries the cantilever loads to the existing building, which transmits the vertical forces to the ground. If the existing building structure is not sufficient, an extra steel structure will be added in the inside part of the buildings to carry the loads. In particular, the vertical loads are transmit through the Black silo, the High silo, the elevator and the main sphere, through 4 declined metal pillar hidden inside it. As a result of the considerable cantilever of the construction, the south east side, which can be considered the point of maximum cantilever, is dedicated to set device and installation, without roof and pavement, but only with a light skin of metal grid. In the remaining part of the building, is configured a secondary layer of beams with a superimposed corrugated steel sheet. The exterior skin is conceived as translucent panel double glazed, colored and transparent, which are set in the exterior part of the reticular beams, to his full height. The domination of the inside space as the outside facade by the reticular structure was chosen to match the main building with the rough atmosphere typical of the harbors.

semisphere diagram

High Silo

device area diagram

The intervention on the High Silo is conceived to respect as much as possible the heritage, restoring the original silhouette and reaching the best functionality of its ambient. Most of the part of the tower is dedicated to dwellings, from the second floor till the end. The remaining floor are dedicated to the access for the inhabitants of the tower, art activities and restaurant (as explained in the main building description). In the ground floor, the concrete funnels to deliver the material are preserved, and became part of the scenario. To avoid the modification of the silo, the position of the vertical connection is preserved, improved with modern stairs and elevator. The original building’s skin is maintained, except the modification of its surface to allow the livability in the inside ambient, and to allow the entrance of natural sun lighting. Moreover, in the inside part of the wall is applied a second skin with insulation material to guarantee the best comfort of the dwellings. The housing unit floors are hanged on the existing wall through metal beams fixed to the existing concrete structure.

Four types of apartments are proposed for the tower, 2 types per floor, which differ in area, typology, and nuclear family. As a consequence of the tall window cut out from the original silo’s skin, all the dwellings are amused by the panoramic view of the city of Deventer. Moreover, the dwellings have double and opposite side with window, to allow the best air exchange and salubrity. In all types the functional disposition of the space is divide between day and night. The day rooms are in the south side to enjoy the day light, while in the north side are set the sleeping rooms. The filter between the harbor and main buildings activities and the apartment tower is reached by the different level of the function and the green terrace over the main building. The green terrace configures for all the inhabitants a recall image of a comfortable home.

dome structure diagram

The proposed configuration represents only one of the numerous combination which can be hold in the silo tower. The quantity of a type have to be arrange respect the demand/supply factor. The proposed apartments allow to reuse the building heritage of the dock, without modifying it, guaranteeing to the inhabitants a breathe of the harbor atmosphere, enjoying the panoramic landscape, without renouncing to the best comfort of the dwellings.

Floating Semisphere

In the south side of the dock, 3 floating platforms on water are connected to the land through above-water path. These structures are geodetic semi spheres with a transparent skin, and their configuration can be flexible to different uses. A first use is to house event and concert: in this case the main dome holds the stage while the two satellite semi spheres are occupied by the viewers. Moreover people can attend to the performance of the main semi sphere with little boat, enjoying the event from the water, otherwise from the dock’s head, on the wooden declined pavement. The continuation of the exposition promenade is an alternative use of the domes: in this areas, indeed, can be house a specific part of the exposition or a particular artistic piece with no conventional dimension. Finally, the semi sphere can be equipped to manage water activities, sporting or artistic, as competition or performance.

All the activities carried on the platform are supported by the device area on the south corner of the main building. In this area are set all the instruments concerning acoustic and lighting diffusion, as well as the direction control of the events. This allow to spread the performance from the water to the dock not merely visually, but also acoustically.

The structure of the semi spheres is conceived as a geodetic dome, which have special property regarding shape and loads distribution. All the semi-sphere have elements proportional to the dimensions of the sphere. Through a specific geometry, in this structure loads are divides equally and proportionally as consequence of the modularity of the elements. The structure is made, indeed, by regular hexagonal and pentagonal panels. In an hypothetical consequent step of the design, will be possible to find out if this panels could be self bearing or with and independent structure. All the building’s skin is made out of rigid PVC, with a double glazed layer, shaped to better distribute the main loads, transparent and colored. The double layer is dimensioned to reach the best insulation of the inner ambient. With its colored and rounded shape, the semi spheres connect water, land and main building, declaring the artistic inspiration diffused in all the Havenkwartier.

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About this author
Cite: Alison Furuto. "Europan 11 Proposal: Diventare / ferrarifrongia" 06 Jan 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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