The mainstay of the research and development trajectory of IABR–2014–URBAN BY NATURE– are the three Project Ateliers that the IABR has set up in collaboration with the municipalities of Texel and Rotterdam and with the province of North Brabant, in direct response to concrete and existing spatial challenges.
An IABR–Project Atelier is a temporary workspace created to provoke all partners into using the free cultural space and the international setting the IABR offers in order to evolve new, design driven perspectives through an open exchange of knowledge and expertise. This sabbatical detour model, as the IABR has been developing it since 2009, facilitates design based research and reflection on an existing urban challenge and the subsequent design of alternative approaches. This process of testing should however always result in concrete proposals for strategies, action plans and/or pilot projects that IABR’s partners then can implement.
By applying the sabbatical detour model the IABR–Project Ateliers confront real and existing urban design challenges with design driven research, the results of which are presented on the platform of the Biennale, i.e. displayed in the main exhibition as well as discussed in the public program. The main goal however is to see the results subsequently deployed by the participating local and regional governments.
Each atelier connects to one of the three core themes of IABR–2014–URBAN BY NATURE– that are the backbone of the main exhibition: the relation between city and nature in A PLANET CULTIVATED (Project Atelier Texel), the importance of thinking in terms of flows in THE URBAN METABOLISM (Project Atelier Rotterdam) and new ways to come to terms with urban landscapes in STRATEGIES FOR THE URBAN LANDSCAPE (Project Atelier BrabantStad).
The curator of IABR–2014–, Dirk Sijmons, also acts as Atelier Master. For each atelier the IABR has commissioned a team consisting of a landscape architect and an urban design office. Each atelier involves an alliance of private and public stakeholders.
The IABR initiates and produces the Project Ateliers as a lead partner for the Regional and Local Design Dialogue Program, within the framework of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment’s Action Agenda for Architecture and Spatial Design 2013–2016.