The Little Spaces Left Between Canal Houses

Tussen-ruimte
  • 1m wide, 10m deep, 12m high… These are the dimensions of an alley between two houses, at Herengracht 127/129, in the canal area of Amsterdam. This alley has been forgotten for years. Closed off for safety reasons. Hidden behind a metallic door. A metal junk yard ignored in favour of the surrounding narrow buildings classified as monuments.

    This summer, architect Jarrik Ouburg transformed this space into a temporary installation. Behind a white door, suspended white perforated sheets of different lengths invited contemplation. The hypnotic sway of the curtains. Glances of the light at 3pm on a summer day. Sighs of the wind.

    Photo courtesy of Jarrik Ouburg

    Photo courtesy of Jarrik Ouburg

    Together with multisdisciplinary firm Non-Fiction, TAAK and Castrum Peregrini Foundation, Office Jarrik Ouburg initiated Tussen-Ruimte (‘Between Spaces’ in Dutch). This project stimulates reflection on the use of public spaces in Amsterdam’s 17th-century canal ring that was recognized as UNESCO’s World Heritage site in 2010. It brings into question the livability of areas controlled by preservation rules and threatened by museumification. Inspired by Gordon Matta-Clark, Atelier Bow-Wow and others, Tussen-Ruimte also offers artists, designers and architects room for experimentation.

    Image courtesy of Jarrik Ouburg

    Image courtesy of Jarrik Ouburg

    Herengracht 127-129 is one of many alleys and courtyards spotted and unveiled by the project. Weekly tours and other artistic activities will take place in Amsterdam until September 22. Check out the programme here.