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Architecture that invites you to move and learn


by Leo Aquina | 27 February 2020

"As an architect, I am interested in the whole, not in adding up the various parts, but in putting these together." Flemming Anders Overgaard is ambitious. The Dane is the co-owner of Keingart, a firm of architects that according to its website, 'gets people moving by means of architecture that invites them to play and learn'. Flemming Overgaard will hold a master class in Nieuwegein (the Netherlands) on 11 March under the title 'Temptations to move'. In this master class, the architect will elaborate on how in Denmark sports and (street) culture are mixed to strengthen the position of sports and exercise.
MasterclassFlemmingOvergaard-1As a young architect, Flemming Overgaard was involved in the construction of large sports facilities. This sparked this fascination of what he later called the 'Paradoxes of the Early Phases of Construction' in his dissertation. "Large sports stadiums are used in a strange way," says Flemming Overgaard.

"Once or twice a week they are full and for the rest of the time those buildings actually are of little value to the people in the area. I wanted to investigate how we could use them better, how they could have a positive influence on active life in the surrounding city. It is about opening up sports facilities to a broader audience."

Shared dream
In order to design sports facilities such that their use improves, while inviting people to exercise, their designers have to reconcile contradictions right at the initial phase. Flemming Overgaard: "You no longer design the accommodation just for that one match a week, but also for other users and target groups who will use that accommodation differently. Those different target groups have different requirements. You could simply decide to divide the number of square meters among the various target groups, but that has no added value for any of the target groups. The ultimate goal is not to add up the requirements of the various target groups - it is about realizing a shared dream."

"We identify the needs of the target groups and look for ways to unite them. We don’t seek to compromise, as compromises are never good solutions."

For the realization of that shared dream in specific projects, Keingart has developed a method that will be discussed during the masterclass of Flemming Overgaard. "We identify the needs of the target groups and look for ways to unite them. We don’t seek to compromise, as compromises are never good solutions. It is not about concessions but about finding a solution that ultimately benefits everyone more.’

3 scenarios
Once the architects have listened to the input of all involved, they work out three scenarios. "We present them to those involved and with their feedback on the pros and cons we come up with a fourth final scenario. That is an efficient way to find out what the users think, but also to let them get acquainted with possibilities of which they themselves maybe never thought", says Flemming Overgaard.

"Our approach is based on three principles," says the architect. "First you need knowledge of sports, (street) culture and general social trends. The second principle is empathy, as architects we have to go to the local community where we will be building to explore the options. And the third principle is creativity. We should make a contribution from the outside based on our professional knowledge. Something that evokes and inspires discussion."
Athletics Exploratorium
As an example, Flemming Overgaard mentions the Athletics Exploratorium that Keingart designed for the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. "There we have combined a classic four-hundred-meter track with several other forms, creating room for traditional athletics components, but also for all sorts of variations. The park is public and the architecture explicitly shows its accessibility, for example by a running track that leads to the parking area and invites visitors to come in."

The Local og Anlægsfonden invests more than ten million euros annually from Danish lottery money in innovative sports and exercise projects

The 'Keingart method' focuses on a mix of sports and (street) culture. Organized Sports, unorganized recreation and area development are closely linked. This policy is made possible in part by the Local og Anlægsfonden (LOA), which invests more than ten million euros annually from Danish lottery money in innovative sports and exercise projects. In addition to the Flemming Overgaard master class, Ola Mattsson of LOA in Nieuwegein will be discussing several inspiring projects.

For more information: Masterclass; temptations to move
(11 March 2020 in Nieuwegein)


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