2009 Greenhouse

municipality of Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands

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When plans were made to convert the former local council office Wijkbureau Noordoost into Hostel Wittevrouwen, a hostel for drug addicts, 1.5 per cent of the building budget was allocated to art projects. There was a condition attached to this commission issued by the municipality of Utrecht: the art project had to be devised, as far as possible, in consultation with the hostel’s residents. Jeroen Doorenweerd suggested building a greenhouse together with the residents in the hostel’s grounds. They can grow plants and flowers there, which can then be planted in the garden. The ground around the greenhouse is being raised at that spot to create an inviting ‘hilly landscape’. Doorenweerd sees the collaboration with the residents as a new, adventurous step in his working practice. Collaboration calls for a kind of dialogue in which people exchange personal histories; as they become acquainted, the people and materials will together make up the raw materials used to create an image. This image will need to be gradually modified in response to discoveries made as the work progresses. Doorenweerd sees ‘making something yourself’ as an important aspect of personal development. This will be the first time he applies this principle in a joint project. But here as in his earlier work, a key aim is to create an observation point or meeting place. Henriëtte Heezen