Platz 3
Nächstes Projekt 04/20  

September / Oktober 2023

RWTH Aachen


Circular production sites in an urban context

von Milena Lümmen


RWTH Aachen






Lehrstuhl für Gebäudelehre und Grundlagen des Entwerfens, Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Anne-Julchen Bernhardt; Act of building - Junior Professorship of Construction and Design, Junior Professor M. Arch Laurens Bekemans




ArchiCAD, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Lumion 3D

Urban makerspaces are helping to increasingly bridge the gap between consumers and producers that has resulted from social and economic developments in European cities. By bringing together distributed manufacturing companies in a collaborative environment, makerspaces offer ideal conditions for implementing circular practices into the manufacturing process. These two factors combined provide a fertile ground for makers to become gatekeepers of circular practices in cities in the future.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the topic of urban production and circular economy, as trends have shown that European cities must become more resilient to change. Issues such as climate change, demographic shifts, and pandemics have raised questions about our current urban structures, global dependencies, and construction methods. A comprehensive concept is needed for residents and makers to enable mutually beneficial symbiosis and counteract these challenges. Architectural solutions that eliminate tensions between user groups and encourage interaction between residents and makers play a crucial role in this process. In order for urban production sites to be sustainable in the long-term, they must be adaptable to the rapidly changing conditions in both the space requirements of the city and the production process.

The objective was to design a collaborative workspace with a focus on local production in the port district “M4H” around one of the city of Rotterdam's former gas tanks.

The design placed its emphasis on four key principles.
- Bridging the gap between makers and the public through a communicative interface

- Designing adaptable makerspaces

- Creating a collaborative working environment for makers

- Fostering circular practices on site

The M4H area possesses a unique position: it is connected to the port with direct access to the North Sea and it is in close proximity westside the city center of Rotterdam, allowing it to potentially have a significant impact on the city‘s structure. The city is actively striving to transition from a linear to a circular port economy, shifting from fossil fuels to bio-based resources, and transforming from a monoculture centered around three sectors into a multifaceted and adaptable industrial ecosystem.

Situated in the center of the area is the gas tank, which will be transformed from an emblem of the fossil fuel era into a new symbol of renewable energy production. The site carries a complex history, involving gas storage, chemical production, the remediation of contaminated areas, and prolonged periods of vacancy. Additionally, it is situated in front of the dike, vulnerable to potential flooding. The site therefore serves as an experimental platform for addressing numerous urban production challenges. These issues will be tackled by the implementation of circular and flexible user concepts for makers and sustainable dismantlable construction methods.
Text von Milena Lümmen.