How can design be relevant for solving the problems between the neighborhood and it’s youth? What is certainly possible is designing environments that are not exclusive to one group, which in this case , do not exclude the youths, but invite them. This idea was the starting point for the project Learning park: Look & Outlook

The learning park is constructed in such a way that it wants to give an open feeling. There are no fences, but still feels closed. There are cameras everywhere.

For the project Look & Outlook, Architecture of Control researched ways to get away from that control. When we visited Learning park Dordrecht we were immediatly approached by security, and when we took pictures they wanted to see our identy cards.

It felt like tables had to be turned. What if the young people take over the monitoring role, and hence would regain authority? This idea formed the basis for the design of Look & Outlook. Watchtowers are the ultimate form of control.

The Learning park is part of the ROC (regional training centre) so therefore the decision for an educational ordening by only placing towers from recent and current conflict zones was made. On the inside coordinates are indicated that is also what makes these objects into watchtowers. Taking Google maps as a base, students can learn something about current conflict zones. Inspired on the UTM a grid of 50x50m is formed. On the intersection of two grid lines towers are placed. The towers are therefore sometimes placed somewhat oddly: against buildings, or in the water. in total there are 12 towers scattered arround the terrain.

The proposal was rejected.

” The towers create an extrodinary image, although I do not think they are functional.”
Bert van de Burgt. Alderman Municipality and responsible for the Learning park Dordrecht.