Presentation and Q&A by Ninja Zurheide (bureau SLA)

Session: ‘Self-Building Inventions’

Inventors are adventurers with a vision. In architecture and urban planning, they invent and realize innovative concepts for living, working and recreation. The session Self-Building Inventions focuses on this pioneering spirit: in a place (Almere) that always embraced it, and with an office (bureau SLA) that made it to its device.

Almere is one of the two main cities in Flevoland, a province of 1400 km2 that the Dutch conquered from the sea. Since its genesis in the 1970s, Almere has been a laboratory for architecture and planning innovations. A recent phenomenon is self-building, where residents (help) design their houses and sometimes also build them themselves. This is what the documentary ‘Build Your Own House’ is about.

Ninja Zurheide, architectural designer at bureau SLA, will talk about recent developments in Oosterwold, one of the newest areas of Almere: a neighborhood (co-)created by residents, with much attention for public green and urban agriculture. Together with ZakenMaker, bureau SLA realized two series of nine dwellings of 160 m2 each, a kind of architectural shell in which residents were free to determine the inner layout themselves. A third series is still being realized. Co-living Oosterwold means more than usual self-building: in this example of ‘co-operative private commissioning’ (CPO), residents have built collaboratively. With a limited budget, they were able to transform a potato field into a dynamic residential community that offers enough room for mutual differences. Zurheide will present this future-oriented concept, but also other projects with which bureau SLA seeks answers to the questions: How to design, in a compact city, sustainable social housing for diverse and changing user groups? As an architect or urban planner, how to contribute to the energy transition with buildings that are both attractive and user-friendly?

Ninja Zurheide is an architectural designer at bureau SLA, founded in 2002 by Peter van Assche in Amsterdam. Bureau SLA is specialized in circular models, sustainable materials and energy, smart living and working, as well as the optimization of waste management. Bureau SLA gives shape to a rapidly changing society. With their method Design, Invent and Build they provide tangible answers to how we want to live, work and relax, now and in the future. They do not only devise circular strategies on paper, but also build them. In short, they understand sustainable transition not just as innovative theory, but as a real practice.

Build Your Own House

Alexander Oey
Holanda The Netherlands, 2013, 49’
Documentary Official Program
Portuguese Premiere

O setor de construção está novamente ativo. Desta vez não por gestores de projetos, mas por cidadãos que constroem as suas próprias casas. Um terreno privado, um auto-projeto ou uma casa completamente auto-construída. O fenómeno da “autoconstrução” está a tornar-se cada vez mais popular na Holanda. E isso traz uma reviravolta no setor: há mais colaboração e mais comunicação com futuros residentes. Construir “sob demanda” garante que o monopólio do gosto não volte a recair sobre os desenvolvedores de projetos e grandes empreiteiros: dessa forma, cada casa ganha sua própria história novamente. Oey discute esse desenvolvimento com profissionais envolvidos (um arquiteto, um político, um planeador, um empreiteiro e um desenvolvedor de projetos), mas acima de tudo com vários auto-construtores.

The construction sector is starting to move again. This time not by project developers, but by citizens who build their own house themselves. A private plot, a self-design or a completely self-built house. The phenomenon of self-building is becoming increasingly popular in The Netherlands. And it brings about a turnaround in the sector: there is more collaboration, and more communication with future residents. Building on demand ensures that the monopoly on taste no longer lies with the project developers and large contractors: this way, every house gets its own story again. Oey discusses this development with involved professionals (an architect, a politician, planner, contractor and project developer), but most of all with various self-builders.