The Fake City

Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Location: Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands
Status: Concept
Awards: Europan 13 Netherlands- Special Mention, The City Academy Awards 16 - 1st Award

The Fake City is a possible conceptual interpretation of the consequences of the Information Revolution.This is an architectural experiment, which lays on the border between utopia and reality and proposes a different typology of architectural space. A space inspired from the current technological transformations and shifts the attention from tangible to non-tangible materiality. Designed to be located at the historical heart of Leeuwarden, it investigates the possibility of becoming a Global Capitol of Culture for 2018. It reveals a new concept of architectural space, a new layer on top of the existing architectural fabric of the city.


Leeuwarden 2.0 introduces the concept of the “Process Structure”- a digital building, a system which is located on a group of sites in the city and appears when activated by the users. A concept inspired from the key factor in the digital age-the computer.
In order to re-activate the entire city center, not only parts of it, the project stretches the scope of the intervention to a larger area from the one provided. The central (historical) part of Leeuwarden is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the city. However, the interest distribution in the current conditions does not answer to the potential which it has. Exactly this historical and contextual richness, combined with the lack of interest in it, brought us to the idea that the city does not need new build architecture in its central part.


Urban Motherboard

The motherboard is the main hardware component in a computer. It is the backbone for its structure. In this concept the Fake City reinvent sthe idea of the motherboard using it as a metaphor, an urban motherboard- a public space on which the the structures fo the Fake City appear. The urban motherboards are selected public spaces in Leeuwarden.

Urban Hardware Components

Every computer has different components all of which have a particular function, such as the video card, the sound card, the processor and its memory. All those components combined, allow for the computer to function as a whole. For the “Fake City” we designed a system of urban components, which provide a functional and microclimatic transformation of the public space. They all produce a dynamic layer, a field and once combined together they form temporary digital galleries.

A - Augmented Reality


The visual and functional layer is a field of augmented reality used in real time and urban scale.This initial layer gives provide the galleries with visible augmented walls  and roof which adapt the open space provided by the urban site.The augmented spaces grow bigger as more people enter and vice versa.

The augmented data is stored in local urban units known as “urban servers”

You can control the geometry of your gallery space with your personal device.

The strucutres can only be seen through devices which can visualise augmented reality

B -  Microclimate


The temperature in Leeuwarden vary in such a scale that there is a need for heating but scarcely for cooling . In that sense the Process Structure will be heated by outlets sticking from the ground and blowing hot air. The hot air will not be produced separately but will actually use the hot air produced by the servers, which generate high level of heat. The heat will then be redirected to the site and blown in the direction of the particular event.

C- Air Pressure


In order to provide invisible shelter a system of air pressure pillers is installed. The air pressure layer allows to block the rain, in case of such, through pressurized air in the provided pillars. Air is taken from the foundation of the pillars and turbulated through the top resulting in an invisible layer of air pushing away the rain. The system responds the change of the augmented layer.The shape of the dome can be controlled and thus can reveal the used spaces when there is rain

E-Wind Blockage

Since the structure is based on a system of sites and has no physical constraints, the Process Structure will use the urban fabric for wind protection. The structure can be in open spaces when there is no wind, and can “move” and “hide” in the smaller streets in order to protect the users from the wind.

D-Noise Cancellation

In order to provide privacy in the galleries of the Fake City a noise canceling field is generated. It uses the principles of noise cancellation in order to generate a space of quietness and privacy within the noisy environment. The desire to obtain a completely quite space is impossible but a steady and constant decrease would lead to sense of privacy in a public space. What we do in order to achieve this is by prerecording some of the constant sound waves of the site and propagating their counter waves through the urban furniture.

Since all the components have a separate function, they all need to be combined in for the Digital Spaces of the “Fake City” to appear consistently. All the produced fields are layered on top of each other, by installing all of the “urban components” in the public spaces together systematicaly.




The Urban Software is the program which controls and coordinates the different devices, making their synchronization with city and the users, resulting in a temporary space with the requested function. In order to do so the Fake City is constantly getting feedback on the changing urban conditions and the demands by the users. In that way every appearing gallery is always unique. Its appearance is based on the event, the context, the conditions, the number of users.



The Fake City.exe

By combining the given hardware and software the Fake City becomes a dynamic digital structure which moves around the city according to the events and adapts according to the demands of the users and the changing conditions of the city. It is a dynamic cloud which can reignite the existing cultural city without changing it. A building as responisve and adaptive as a computer program or a smartphone application.


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