Urban prototyping

Urban installations
Locally sourced wood, paint

Produced by
Birgitta Ralston, Thomas Tiel Groenestege and Sophie Mulot.
Dr Laurent Chambon and 34 Hyperion Lyceum students.
Thanks to
Magasin des Horizons, Innovation Norway
Dr Michele Provoost, INTI and the people at NR6

The Wilde Werft Park is a temporary installation tempting to influence the urban planning in NDSM noord area in Amsterdam. From a unused wasteland we made a parc with a beach, camping site and lookout point. The intervention was imagined by Birgitta Ralston and the urban designer Thomas Tiel Groenestege. Sophie Mulot, french master student architect from Grenoble participated to the one week workshop, that was made possible with the collaboration of Laurent Chambon, the french sociologist and teacher in Amsterdam.


In the historically industrial Noord of Amsterdam, the disused NDSM werf was invested by creative industries. Now it is in rapid transformation and the wilderness, both natural and man made, is rapidly erased by construction of a new neighbourhood for 200.000 future amsterdammers. Planning of the area is made long before, sometimes 20 years, the building actually starts. Even if needs of the city, people and technology change, the plan doesn’t. The Idealist Institute is investigating transformable planning through the “ombestemmingsplan” that requestion the current zoning plan. We propose citizen and creative intervention to explore the uses and actual needs in a community with the final goal to create an ideal village or neighbourhood.

Students of the Noord

How can one plan an area and at the same time leave space for citizen intervention? The aim was not to solve this challenge in just the four days that our intervention lasted, but we wanted to investigate what people would do with the planned out area at the ferry arrival would they have
the possibility to change the plans. We called it make an “Ombestemmingsplan” in Dutch or transformative planning.

34 high school students, class in French and political science at nearby Hyperion Lyceum participated in an in-situ workshop. They mapped and suggested usage of the wasteland in waiting for construction, based on their own perceived needs. Here are a witness account from one of the student group; "We want more people to come to NDSM werf, we find that the construction site is very ugly and the noise is very loud. The students probably cannot focus on their homework. The construction site has to become a library with places to study because the need of students is to have a place to study in silence and many students lives at the NDSM werf. The small lake must become a garden, for recreation and for more nature in the NDSM. The concrete must be partially replaced by grass to create a beautiful place for the residents."

Caring for the wasteland

WildeWerf Park invites to discover the nature and gives it purpose by suggesting different usages and point of views. The NDSM area is in construction following a bestemmingsplan that projects to build out what today is a vast empty space facing the water. We suggested to make use of the space and give it a function useful for people living and visiting the area. If this natural zone becomes a place we care for, we might be more inclined to keep it clean. If the wilderness is cherished, it might be brought further as part of the new development.
All installations was made with objects and wood found in the area. Before the installation could begin, we cleared out the area of waste; plastics, paper and bottles, filling a dozen full sized garbage bags.

Wilde Werft Park installation

The Wilde Werft Park is a temporary installation tempting to influence the urban planning in NDSM noord area in Amsterdam. From an unused wasteland we made a parc, at the same time underling the industrial heritage of the site. The parc includes seating on the sandbank inspiring beach life, a camping site overlooking the Amstel river, a sign making people aware of the rich birdlife in the area and lookout point on the sand mount, used to compress the ground to enable the soon to come building construction.


The Irregular Notes is a newsletter sharing the Ralston Bau studio research and
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