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3332 Autonië Binckhorst, 2014

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Book Autonië

Hans Venhuizen, Sabrina Lindemann

The Autonië project is set up as a city sweatshop to investigate the car as an object which, aside from being a commodity, transmits cultural experiences, identities and affects our spatial frameworks considerably. The project zeros in on the Binckhorst area in The Hague and explores ways to retain the existing local expertise that centers on cars and make the cultural role and binding significance of the car more visible. Our research project resulted in speculative collages of industry and car culture in which the site's floor is always the starting point.

Clearly, roads were part of our world long before cars appeared, including congestion and pollution. But not until the arrival of cars have the roads been planned and designed so widely and with this much care. Compared to today, the oftentimes tortuous and bumpy roads caused the ride to be tiring and slow. The flat pavement made the car go faster and gave access to a wider landscape. Car and road are inextricably linked, cars are nowhere fast without smooth asphalt. By paving the surface, the landscape is in fact erased for the occasional traffic. Editing out part of a landscape gives the opportunity of starting fresh and completely different, to rebuild something else from the ground up.

Studio Makkink & Bey propose to take the road as a starting point for Autonië and to start with a major cleanup instead of with a building. When you start to build first and leave the area around it unworked, people pass through clutter before they reach a beautiful building. The Hague could appropriate 'white spots' for residents, collectives, organizations, businesses and creatives with the ambition to enter such a public trial location. The area develops itself from the cleared floor, driven by necessity and the aim for improvements in car culture. The space is reclaimed as public space while starting from a blank card. The floor is made in a way that makes the landscape suitable for a variety of uses. This approach is similar to a forest or dunes on the sea coast, places that are so little determinant that they offer space to almost any activity with minimal or no modifications.

Industry is already present in the area and it's clear it used to have a function as car country. It would be obvious to reinterpret function ties that are already present in the Binckhorst car industry, and connect them with leisure for the area's new residents. Public-private partnerships between the remaining industry and residents can only occur when conditions and infrastructure are designed well and a combination feels natural. Linkage with demands and social issues could possibly encourage the remaining industry to conduct tests together with the community to create the ultimate road, cut to todays demands. Our proposal starts with a rough assembly of five scenarios of industry and car culture combined. These form the basis for innovation in the automotive industry in which tests show the consequences of innovations alongside and on the road. It is a testing ground racing ahead for the most durable, the fastest, biggest, slowest, most efficient and so on.

For example, a waste sorting company develops itself into a gas station and recovers car fuel from household waste or tires. The asphalt itself can yield energy from the heat it generates. Along with the companies Basal or BAM you'd develop test tracks for jeeps, motocross riders and Formula 1. Series that show the car along various themes are displayed inside the showrooms. The exhibition would show cars per year, or according to energy efficiency, or categorized alphabetically, or an arrangement of smart cars. This makes the showroom a library of auto mobility.

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