Stadserf, today interior for the Liduina procession
SCHIEDAM – Does the municipal office at Stadserf deserve the destructive bullet going in? This is the opinion of the municipal council on the basis of the demolition report that has been made. Architect Pelle Poiesz sees it completely differently. “Schiedam, know what you have!” he says.
Poiesz remembers entering the Stadserf for the first time, it must have been in 2002. ”I thought: my God, what have they unpacked here! Where is it special. “Also: what a strange square, suitable for tributes to football teams that Schiedam does not have, or for tattoos and shooting parties.” But after a while above all: what a cool place. There is nothing wrong with the scale of the space, it is very scalable. ”
The Stadserf complex (consisting of the tower of the architects EH Kraaijvanger and GHM Kraaijvanger, the connecting complex Hans Ruijssenaars and Huis te Rivière) will therefore be revised if it is up to the municipal authorities. Although the current Curve Plan presupposes limited demolition, e.g. the part from the catering facility near the ruins to the main entrance. Nevertheless, according to Poiesz, this means the end of the complex, which is so characteristic due to the uniformity of the Stadserf.
Pelle Poiesz has since made a name for himself in Schiedam: Among other things, he was responsible for the design of Schiedam Partner’s information center in Waag and was also involved in designing the De Walvisch mill for a museum mill. He is a co-owner of HP Architecten, located in Keilepand near Marconiplein. Sustainability and recycling are central to his work, and therefore he likes to draw on ‘transformations’ that give new life to existing buildings, whether they are old or still quite young.
His design attitude resulted last year in two nominations for NRP Gulden Feniks, the award for the best renovation and transformation projects in the Netherlands. One of the two nominated projects, the ESP laboratory at Delft University of Technology, was declared the winner.
For him, that is also what happens with the municipal office: transformation. “It can not be that we can not realize the recycling of such a meaningful building these days ?!”, he says. Poiesz wants to submit an application for monument status along with other Schiedam residents to preserve the complex. “With this, we hope to start a discussion about the importance of one of the most central places in the city, a building to which every Schiedammer has a bond.”
The Stadserf complex deserves a new future. Although it already has a troubled history. It was just taken into use in the last century, in 1998. Architect Prof. ir. Hans Ruijssenaars was responsible for the design. “A new city center on Schie”, was the title of Rotterdams Dagblad in a special issue dedicated to the remarkable complex. “Stadserf, the square of pride regained”, read a headline over an article in the appendix. It also states that the realization cost 56 million guilders.
For Pelle Poiesz, the cost and the idea that it is ‘unfortunate’ to demolish such a young building is only limited. He prefers to look at the whole, at the history of the place, at the social structures in a city, how people interact with each other and in the buildings. In recent years, for example, Schiedam has undergone a development of greater self-awareness, a growing pride in his past. Instead of buildings that we prefer to ignore – for example because they have already been destroyed before – we think more about recycling, about new uses, Poiesz explains. He mentions the former DCMR building on’s-Gravelandseweg as such a place that seemed hopelessly redundant and which has now been transformed into a hip place to live. “It is amazing that such a development has now succeeded at once.”
According to the architect, Schiedam is still far away in that growth process. “The city might need a little more knowledge of what it stands for.” It is not for nothing that the turnover in the city is still high where people come and go. In such a process, for example, a Jan des Bouvrie can pass by who, like a kind of Pied Piper from Hamelin, gets people after him. “But if there is no long-term vision behind it, such initiatives will fail.” Schiedam has seen that.
It’s a shame, because in urban planning, interior design and transformation, the possibilities come ‘only once’, says Pelle Poiesz. “You’ve been building for fifty or a hundred years …” At least that was what he assumed.
Pelle Poiesz understands that words like preserve, care, are not so sexy for a city council who wants to radiate optimism and determination. “In this respect, sustainability goes against rapid success.” To make it very personal: about former councilor Fahid Minhas, who has drawn up the first plan for the demolition / renovation of the Stadserf complex, says Poiesz. “I am happy for Fahid and the fact that something has happened in Schiedam thanks to him.” But that does not mean you ‘sell’ the city (soul) to the devil. “A little bit of good is usually better than nothing. But in such an important place in the city …” No, it deserves the greatest attention and effort. “This is such an unusually beautiful place, this one deserves vision.”
Poiesz also points to the highly critical final report of the Dwarsky team, a team of independent experts in the field of transformation. “I am surprised that the very critical reaction of this Dwarsky team to the feasibility study is not being addressed in the media at all.”
Pelle Poiesz was very surprised when he heard about the renovation plans last year. When he saw the sketches of the plans that are now being developed, he understood that the future of the complex is in danger. “You see a lot of happening that you do not understand.” And also things that are clear. “Then you see that a city sometimes does not grow with reality. The role of the city and its functions are changing, and the buildings are not always able to cope with these changes. ”
“There are things you would like to see improved. I understand that we are now saying: there should have been trees here.” And it is also clear that homework in 2022 has been developed in such a way that civil servants can manage with less space. The library got its own beautiful home, just at the very top. ”But then take the given facts and look at how “Such a building can work. Try to get a grip on the history of the place and the complex. The theater naturally wants its own entrance with a kind of outdoor stage in front of it. It should be easy to achieve.”
For Poiesz, it can be no different than reaching a plan at this point that respects what is already there. “Go recycling, do not just think. Start the design process with the aim of reusing the complex. “
Start with the meaning of the place. The cultural history and the city’s inhabitants’ ties to the place and the complex. “This is where the roots lie for a new (and recycled) complex. Then there will be support and a vision. ” As far as he is concerned, the Dwarsky team has given the right impetus to recalibrate the basic principles. “How wonderful it would be if we could fully embrace history and take the memories of this meaningful place into a new era.”
And yes, then the destruction of capital, which is demolition according to the architect also plays a role. “Yes, what has been built up with blood-sweat & tears – with money from everyone – we must now tear down again. We can hardly transform places in the city in a good way, and then we are already laying new plans. It will save many millions if we reuse the Stadserf complex, ”predicts Pelle Poiesz.
And realize that all the plans that are being made now will also seem outdated in ten, twenty or thirty years. You have a hundred solutions to every question. “Therefore, vision is crucial.” Who is the conscience in such a place? Let’s tell each other the stories of the city and avoid mistakes. ” It will not only save a lot of money, but also make the place’s identity even richer. ”
Now it seems to Poiesz that no one will look at it that way. Therefore, he is considering seeking monument status for the complex. “Then look at it!”