Nominee Threshold Award Social Practices
Meet Nino Vogels! Nino was nominated for the 2021 Threshold Award Social Practices with his graduation project ‘Gròzzie’. In this interview, Nino tells us about his work and future plans.
Can you tell us a bit about your graduation project and how it came about?
At the moment we are dealing with a lot of vacant spaces in our cities. The central office for statistics (CBS) listed various of these unused spaces in the city, such as empty office buildings or shops, to get insight into the number of vacant buildings and the new purposes we could give them. But next to the known vacant spaces we are dealing with another phenomenon that caught my attention: wander spaces. Wander spaces are the underused spaces we are not aware of. We have created so many spaces that we do not use properly. One of the most common examples of such wander space is the parking garage. Most often, parking garages are empty, and if they are in use, they are likely not to be used to their full capacity. Besides, many cities are trying to induce car free zones, especially now that climate goals are being prioritised.
So I created a plan for transforming a parking garage in the city center of Tilburg. The reason I chose Tilburg as the context for my project is because I lived there until recently. That is also how I know they are working on an urban plan to reduce car traffic in the city centre. For these reasons, I believe the current use of parking garages needs to be reconsidered. Fun fact: the title of my graduation work, ‘Gròzzie’, means parking garage in Tilburg dialect.
I went on and researched what the city of Tilburg really needs at this moment, and got into contact with people from the cultural sector. Tilburg has a large cultural community, but does not really have a central location or center where institutions intersect and where creatives can get together. To come up with my final design, I examined methodologies of sustainable design and finally, I created an adaptive design that can grow and shrink within the existing structure of the parking garage.
Which themes or societal concerns are you addressing in your work, and how?
With my work I hope to create awareness of spaces that we are not using simply because they are too large or in the wrong place. Our population is growing rapidly and cities are expanding. But do they really need to, considering all of the hidden underused spaces we could repurpose? Making better use of wander spaces could help us get more grip on these problems and optimize the space within the city borders so as to leave more space for nature outside of the city. Also the lack of space for the creative sector is something that I really wanted to address in this project. With my work I hope to give something back to the city and to make a new connection between the city and its creatives.
What will you be working on in the near future? What are your next steps?
I would like to expand the project by getting in touch with the new alderman for spatial planning in Tilburg (Bas van der Pol) who worked as director of Architecture Institute Rotterdam (AIR), and with CAST (Centrum voor Architectuur en Stedenbouw Tilburg). CAST is always looking for new projects that could give a boost to the future of the city, and I think my project is a good match. I know there is a lot of demand for facilities for the culture sector and I would love to work with different parties, like the municipality and Tilburg’s creatives, to create a multifunctional public culture center.
To read more about Nino’s work, pay a visit to his Graduation Catalogue Page. Furthermore, his journey can be followed on his Instagram. The winners of the Threshold Award Social Practices will be announced during a festive ceremony as part of the Graduation Show. Keep an eye on our Graduation Show page for more information.