People shape architecture and architecture shapes people.
Mei believes that architecture should stimulate the creation of strong communities and neighbourhoods. Community building therefor is an important design principle at Mei. During the design process we make sure to thoroughly research the future users of our designs. We engage in conversation with all involved about the opportunities architecture offers, and what new prospects and potential for social interaction it creates.
Sustainable and futureproof designs that enable the creation of community are based on the concepts of inclusion, diversity, density, sustainability, flexibility, health and welfare. Mei translates these principles in designs which people can relate to derive identity from. Distinctive architecture, like for example the recognizable facade of The Verkenner, creates an identity that increases the involvement of the residents.
Community: Fenix Pioneers
To learn and understand the likes and needs of future users Mei aims to engage with and listen to this target group. During the design process of Fenix I we established a pioneers community together with future users and residents. The Fenix Pioneers were actively involved. They shared their visions and ideas; reflected upon the design of outdoor spaces; and organised various workshops to engage with other future residents and users. The Pioneers community has grown into a large and inclusive community of Fenix residents and users. In Fenix I people live together and share their lives together.
Communities in various sizes
The Schiecentrale in Delfshaven, completed around 10 years ago, now functions as a small individual village within the city, with a great variety of users and residents. One can live, work and relax within the direct environment of the building. The building includes a supermarket, gymnasium and day-care centre. The car-free quay side enables residents to ‘claim’ the public space and provides a safe place for children to play. The nature-inclusive deck provides a place to sit outside and enjoy a sunny lunch or a good book. The distinctive external storage units stimulate social interaction as the encounters between residents increase.
Communities though, grow in different sizes. The strong Spaardersbad community consists only of six households. The former swimming pool counts six unique apartments that surround a shared Mediterranean courtyard. A new transparent indoor façade opens the loft homes towards the courtyard and the other houses. The successful transformation attracted like-minded people. Their choice for a home in this unique residential building strongly connects the residents. Already they are a close community, where joy and sorrow are shared.