Mattie Le Voyer + Irini  Xanthopulu, Iraklis Romanopoulos, Siobhan Milne, Kelwin Palmer
Rotterdam Academy van Bouwkunst – master 1

The project ‘ Passages – the inbetween worlds ‘ won the Iktinos Price !

The Iktinos prize was introduced by Huig Maaskant, one of the co-founders of the Academy Van Bouwkunst, and architect of buildings such as the Groothandelsgebouw in Rotterdam (1951) or the Johnson Wax (1964). Maaskant wanted to award the student whom ‘by quality and characteristic of the study result, contributed to education, research and practice of architecture or urban design’.
Each semester the tutors of the design studios select one project for the Iktinos prize.
The prize is € 2000 linked to a scholarship. This scholarship is meant for a future study activity (participating to a workshop, summer school, fieltrip abroad, researches…).

My first wish was to use this money to develop a “real project”.
The project AGAPE is born from passionate debates and discussions with Irini Xanthopulu, Iraklis Romanopoulos, Kelwin Palmer and Siobhan Milne, architects and textile designer.
The Iktinos reward happened as a great coincidence with the development of this project.

AGAPE is a will to build a series of wishes.

« Encourgaing society to learn through all of their senses, not only by listening and reading but also, and more broadly, by doing, eating, drinking, bathing, walking and singing »
Alain De Botton

And with the redaction of a manifesto, we as a group set up some rules for ourselves, the workshop, to make our ideas sharper :

When we talk about eating, it is not just about providing nourishment for the body. AGAPE is about creating food for the imagination. A space for our body and soul, food for everything
we need!
A good idea needs a good environment, music, food and friends. Architecture is our meeting point because we are architects, we are people who know how to create, understand, play, make beautiful the space around us and we want to engage more people in this process.
Architecture for us, is not about hiding in a big office and luxury buildings, it is a part of your daily routine. With AGAPE this routine will become more emotional, colorful and playful.
AGAPE is a public space in the city for people from the neighborhood, for people who wish to express themselves, need help fixing their bicycles, need somewhere to collaborate with
others, or just want a cup of tea and a small home-made dish whilst reading a book from the donated library. This spot will be an open home.

The workshop space will contain a multiplicity of spaces, an exhibition space on the walls, presentations on the weekend or in the evenings, such as students projects, small events, pecha kuchas… Mini workshops will be organized : knitting, cooking, how to recycle materials to make furnitures and so on. A spot will be open to help people fix their bicycles, and a free library will grow with the donated books.

The teaplace will be a fixed point in the workshop, and propose small dishes like mezze with tea, coffee or other drinks. The tea will be complementary when any of the small dishes or food are ordered.

These programmatic ideas include a spatial proposition for AGAPE. The space is considered as divided into three layers. The first one corresponds to the room space. It is a basis, supporting everything happening inside the workshop. It is raw, heavy, represents what is staying, as a neutral background. The second layer corresponds to the supports. The furnitures will be made of wood. They will be portable and easily movable, evolving with the ateliers : a table used for the first supper event could later be a mezzanine or a scene…

The third layer is composed by our subtle touches. It is our personality infused into the workshop space. It is the dishes, the kitchen corner… This way, the identity of the workshop remains as a unity, whilst the atelier is sculpting its interior all the time.

To conclude, AGAPE will provide the city a new kind of public space, welcoming citizen’s suggestions and participations. In a crisis society, mutual help and learning to manage things you need, but manage them as a team are topics of a great importance.