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Agora Lelystad

Amsterdam, Netherlands
1 of 2

While construction work for De Meerpaal was still going on, Van Klingeren was commissioned to design a similar multifunctional building for Lelystad, the second newtown to be built in Flevoland and planned to become the largest city and capital of the new polder province. The first design elaborated further on the open concept and mix of functions of De Meerpaal. In this case, however, the scale was larger and Van Klingeren managed to lure in the churches (three different denominations) into the collective. Although each church would have its own space, it was to be open like the open-air theatre and - as Van Klingeren argued - since these spaces would only be used on Sundays, they could double as extra theatre and meeting spaces for the rest of the week.

Meanwhile it was decided that not Lelystad but a newer town Almere to be built closer to Amsterdam would be more important and bigger, and construction of Lelystad was delayed. This meant that the scale and budget of Van Klingeren's Lelystad Agora diminished too. Instead Van Klingeren proposed the opposite; to enlarge the program with shops and housing facilities (hotel, boarding house), but to do this within the limited budget (To do more with less, was one of his favourite slogans). He proposed a U-shaped steel post-and-beam structure of three storeys, to be left open and to be 'colonized' over time by the people and by entrepreneurs. The ground floor would still be like De Meerpaal, but a swimming pool was added to the programmatic mix. This open ground floor would be connected to the adjoining park, so much so that Van Klingeren started to title the different zones in the lay-out as if they were landscapes: theatre landscape, youth-cave, swimming and undressing landscape etcetera; all in an open 'wall-less' setting. While De Meerpaal could be called urbanism (realised with architectural means), this last design for Lelystad would have been a landscape design instead, 'growing 'over time. The proposal proved to be too radical for Lelystad and a toned down, conventional Agora was built in the city centre, by one of Van Klingeren former employees.

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bostjan, October 24th, 2017
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