Iconising sustainability

Tuesday 01 Dec 2009

World Sustainability Centre winner chosen

The Sustainability Centre Foundation, the Delft University of Technology and the Cartesius Institute have chosen their winner for the World Sustainability Centre Afsluitdijk design which could become the icon of sustainability.

A total of 80 teams submitted for the competition which resulted in two designs being chosen as overall winners. The competition will now see both proposals, which make recommendations for the future of Afsluitdijk, presented to the Vice Minister in spring next year. KOW's Bilinear and Kraaijvanger Urbis' Changing Perspectives delivered urban design solutions to implement the Sustainability Centre's objective to set up a public centre that highlights innovative techniques in the field of water, sustainable energy and nature and is housed in an innovative and high-profile building. Both teams will receive prize money for their efforts and their works will run with a chance of realisation upon presentation, although realisation is not guaranteed within the framework of the competition.

The site of Afsluitdijk, a dike in Lauwersoog, was chosen as the preferred venue for the concepts, being mutually beneficial to exploit the prevalent elements and to regenerate the currently unsafe area. The project would be located at the border between freshwater and saltwater between the Wadden Sea – which is set to acquire World Heritage status – and Lake IJssel. Each year the Afsluitdijk attracts around 300,000 visitors and it is believed the construction of the World Sustainability Centre Afsluitdijk would add a further 250,000 visitors a year.

Both proposals are designed to take advantage of water, sun,wind, earth and tides to make an autarkic, neutral and waste-free existence possible. KOW's proposal incorporates a cafe and restaurant with food produced on the dike where waste materials from fish and shrimp farms will be used to irrigate vegetables, sheep will graze on the lands and all waste will be used to produce and store energy. A compact hydrogen-powered train will bring the visitors to the desired destinations. Their proposal is created with dike interventions building foundations into the land. The jury commended KOW's proposal for the 'strong' point of not producing a Bilbao-esque icon and for incorporating public transport into the plans.

Kraaijvanger Urbis' Changing perspectives produces a flexible island design consisting of five floating boxes (vessels) and a connecting floating jetty. The connections are able to move with the tides, waves and wind and can be moved by simply sailing them to a new destination. Exhibition, research and congress are all catered for and it is expected the destination would be popular for yacht-goers. The judges praised the proposal as a 'mature plan with a lot of potential'.

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Urban design

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