independent school for the city

The +2,5 Degree City

Workshop with Dirk Sijmons and Hemann Kossman, exploring the predicted effects of a 2,5°C temperature rise on the Netherlands. Taking place from 06 – 24 May 2024. The participation fee for this studio is 400 euro. Register your spot here

Get Your tickets here

Limited amount of places still available. the participation fee for this studio is 400 Euro.

Studio Description

During this thematic block, we’ll dive into the Anthropocene – the geological era marking the dominant human impact on the Earth systems. Just as many cities around the world, Rotterdam has the ambition to become green, sustainable and resilient. All around the city we see projects being developed to transform this car-dominated city, into an attractive and green environment for all its inhabitants, while simultaneously aiming to increase awareness about climate change and sea-level rise. At the same time the industrial port city is one of the most polluting places in Europe.

Climate scientists have predicted that if we continue at the current pace with climate measures, we will still end up on a planet that is between 2° and 3° hotter at the end of this century. The rising temperature will probably cause extreme weather phenomena, a substantial rising of the sea level, biodiversity loss, food insecurity, large migration streams, social upheaval and political reactions. How will our offspring live in these new unmapped circumstances, how will their cities work, how will their life feel? How will we survive living in the city in a + 2,5°C world? In these weeks we will map out the predicted effects of a global 2,5°C temperature rise on the Netherlands, on the City of Rotterdam and on a number of very specific places in the city.

The future never unfolds according to the clear-cut scenarios we like to imagine. Scenarios like that tend to be self-constructed fairy-tales with three or four extremes where we find ourselves, somewhat detached, comfortably in the middle. When we look at the world around us we rather see elements of different scenario’s coexisting in space. Therefore we have chosen to develop a single hybrid scenario for Rotterdam and its surrounding areas in the year 2084.

The way the studio will deal with the fact that the globalised economy is crashing into our planetary boundaries will be on a spectrum between a bottom up, informal, improvised way and a top down, policy oriented and planned manner, mixed with dominant world- views that will colour both policy attitudes. These attitudes will coexist and feed off each other, causing tension and even conflict that will be manifested spatially. The friction heat produced by these tensions is negative (or positive) but could be the fuel for creativity. 

We have selected five zones in the Rotterdam region that pose different challenges and that will develop in contrasting ways. In each of these zones there will be a different concoction of an informal, messy future and one driven by policies, worldviews, and plans on a national and supra-national level. We have described these zones and the challenges they face in texts that represent the inner contradictions and dilemmas that determine them. The participants are asked to look at the areas through the lens of these contrasting tendencies: the informal versus the policy oriented. Which early signs of informal transition can be found and which effects of policy and planning can be seen? How can these traces be extrapolated over fifty years in a plausible if speculative future scenario for these areas?

The format we have chosen to work toward is that of the school poster, a rich and panoramic visual representation of a possible future. This future will not be a pure and unambiguous final state, but rather a messy moment in a massive transition, showing signs of the extremes of informality and planning of colliding worldviews, and the tension and hybrids between them. The message we try to communicate is that the era of accurate solutions of isolated well defined problems might be over in the bumpy ride ahead.

This studio is part of our 12 week programme This is Tomorrow.

About Dirk Sijmons
Dirk Sijmons studied Architecture at Delft University of Technology and is one of the three founders of H+N+S Landscape Architects. He was appointed Dutch Government Advisor on Landscape by the Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries in 2004, was professor of Environmental Design at Delft University of Technology from 2008 until 2015 and has been curator of the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale 2014 themed Urban-by-Nature. Sijmons has published extensively concerning phenomenons in the European landscape, with a strong focus on environmental design and the spatial impact of the energy transition. Sijmons received the Rotterdam-Maaskant Prize in 2002 and the prestigious Edgar Doncker award in 2007 for his contribution to Dutch culture.

About Herman Kossmann
Herman Kossmann graduated as an architect from Delft University of Technology. He began his career as a teacher at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and carried out a number of mayor renovation projects in Rotterdam as an independent architect. In the beginning of the 90’ he was asked to design and manage some large exhibitions, which became a new direction in his work. In 1998 he set up an interdisciplinary design office, based in Amsterdam with fellow student Mark de Jong: Kossmann.dejong. The office became an international operating design studio specialised in exhibition design and interior architecture.


Monday 06 May 2024