Camping is defined as getting away from an urban area, and enjoying nature, spending one or more nights on a location. As such, the phrase urban camping contradicts itself.
Urban camping informally and unexpectedly revealed itself in examples such as parents camping in front of a school to enroll their kids or Harry Potter fans camping in front of a store to buy the newest release.
A new interest in city traveling has sparked a rise in low-budget traveling accommodation requiring a rethinking of urban visitor sleeping solutions. Existing low budget hotels, but also contemporary youth hostels are a limited and often poor answer to this general demand for cheap lodging in the city-centers. On the other hand, campers trying to visit cultural city centers on their drifting routes, often encounter camping areas located in the city’s anonymous expanding outer limits.
IEA wants to setup an experimental process of research and design around this topic. The first results of this ongoing study where presented in the exhibition, ‘It’s about time Expo 2030’ last summer at the Designcenter De Winkelhaak in Antwerp. The exposed material was mainly focusing on analyzing the phenomena of urban camping and trying to relate it to other topics such as: temporal territories, vertical staging of landscapes, multiple readings and interpretations on urban green and their potentials.
As a synthesis IEA presented a proposal for a new type of ‘small scale’ urban camping, DC/UC I , that was supposed to be erected in the courtyard of the Designcenter and tried out for 2 months by visitors of the exhibition. Unfortunately this was not fulfilled due to time limitations.
Now IEA wants to pursue this reality-check, scale 1:1, in the public realm. A second generation and more refined model of the UC is designed and ready to be realized. For the KAAILAND Festival exposition on mobile Architecture, SK/UC II (4) is build on the Antwerp quays near the river Schelde.
This type can be implanted in any city centre that likes to experiment with this new type of urban camping. That is open to create a place for local and international travelers that are welcomed to stay for an ‘escape’ into rather than away from the city life. To create a place where adventurous city wanderers can stay overnight, meet other campers, find a safe shelter with basic designed practical facilities focusing on extraordinary vistas of city exploration.
UC II is a part of a larger global investigation, repurposing existing territories for camping and designing shelters tailored to the urban environment.
The last 5 years UC has been erected three times in Antwerp (Belgium), one time in Copenhagen (Denmark) and one time in Amsterdam (The Nederlands).
size: m2: 4 x 12m² camping spots + 3 x 4 m² sitting places
Budget range : Around € 50.000