Authors : Matt Gehm and Michael Den Hartog

University : University of Southern California

Status : BArch, 2015

Advisor : Warren Techentin

Title : Neu Amsterdam

The project was an urban planning + mapping project, which focused on the representation and projection of the city of [ Amsterdam ] at five different scales.

[ At the largest scale], we began to identify the underlying [ urban forces ] at play within the city and the surrounding area. It sought to highlight the condition of centrumitis in the urban centers, the stratification of the surrounding landscape, and the ongoing battle with land reclamation and rising water levels. Also represented at this scale are the various modes of transportation into and around the city centers.

The second board of the series [ moved down to the 1:250 scale]. Here begins our own architectural intervention into the city, stemming from the neighborhood of Ijburg. Drawing from this previously established urban network, we projected our intervention out into the Ijmeer to connect via land bridge to the city of Almeer. Using a [ network of roadways and varied zoning as our framework] , we looked to establish our own monocentric condition, thus alleviating some of the stress on the given monocentricities and shifting the urban condition to one of [ polycentricity ]. The scheme also explored some conceptual ideas of aqua farming / tourism, floating market places, and transitional zoning regulations.

The third board in the series, [ the 1:50 scale], moved in to examine the newly created network at the scale of a neighborhood. Here the project shifted to examine strategies for [ high density housing ] and became a dissection of the double loaded corridor. By pulling apart this often cramped and anti-social space, we attempted to integrate [ mixed use programs ] across multiple floors and create a multi-tiered pedestrian connection to the urban center.

The final board, the perspective, shows a [ projection ] of what our newly developed centrum could become. To create the massing for the urban center, we took the existing buildings of Ijburg and reoriented them vertically, alluding to a transition away from horizontality to accommodate a more compact urban center. The buildings were also texture-mapped with historically significant works of art which we believe is fascinating in their attempt to describe a standardized shape or form with a proliferation of strokes and members, in a similar way t0 which architecture uses a composition of many elements to form a cohesive whole. Also it allowed for an [ assemblage of culture and historicism ] to be projected onto the new forms. The foreground of the perspective shows the housing scheme and a dissected urban corridor.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Matt Gehm _ It highlighted a desire to translate larger urban issues into a functional human scale architecture compared to the standard site response. It is almost a super site response.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
MG _ Art, Application development (about to launch my first app!), UX UI Design, Graphic Design, Urban Planning.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
MG _ That to become great it takes hardwork and dedication. To truly succeed you must push yourself past what you believe you can achieve.

S//A : Describe your dream project
MG _ My dream project would be to design a civic center focused on historic preservation. I am fascinated with the integration of history and culture into contemporary architecture. I also have an urge to explore ideas regarding the measured object, the data it generates, and the interplay between the two.