The Institute of Placemaking is a knowledge exchange center and public institution that gives spatial possibilities to people who desire a place for new ideas and new encounters within the city.

An office-cabin and a table are the simple architectural elements around which workshops, dinners and collective gatherings happen. The Institute acts as an infrastructure that ‘grows’ through a series of curated workshops dealing with public action and experimentation with do-it-yourself methods of production, which extends to building, making, cooking, using and re-using. Workshops are focused around the looped system of resources, and particular attention is paid to what is commonly neglected in the production cycle of materials or goods: waste. We will be hosting six public workshops together with local citizens and festival participants: Build Your Own Solar Cooker, Do-It-Yourself Marmelade Workshop, Soap Opera: Making Soap from Scratch, Solar Cooker Tester + Taste Test, and Remade Furniture Workshop.

Over time, individuals and organizations in the neighborhood can plug into this structure, and begin to propose their own spatial interventions or knowledge exchanges. Dinners and artist-led bars will play a catalytic role in getting to know the neighbors and facilitating new encounters…

Small Actions in the Big City

Our workshops and activities operate on the premise of re-use happening at two scales. First, through a series of workshops focused on the production cycle of things and the continuity of systems. The products of each workshop accumulate into a final lunch with the community and festival participants. Leftover groceries from local markets will be cooked in the solar cookers, DIY marmelade will be served with dessert, self-made soap is used to wash the dishes and recycled furniture makes the setting. Eventually all food-waste will end up in a compost bin that can be the start of a community garden hosted at the Institute. Secondly, re-use happens within the entire installation, which will be open for plug-in programs and appropriation by the community.

This once empty lot is transformed into collective space that is shared and actively used by residents and visitors alike; through its transformation we begin the processes of place making.

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The Institute of Placemaking is collaboration between Pieter Grandry, Jia Gu and Valentina Karga. We dedicate this project to our dear friend Matthias Rick, who left us too suddenly. He was one of the bravest and most talented of his generation, who opened up a new approach to architecture and urbanism and shared the path with others. His ideas and spirit live on in our work. We loved him and we will deeply miss him.