IMD _Institute of Media and Design

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ARCHITECTURAL DESIN | World Sustainable Center Afsluitdik _Netherlands

The Afsluitdijk in the Netherlands is a barrier dam at the entrance of the former Zuiderzee between Den Oever in the Southwest (North-Holland Province) and Kornwerderzand in the Northeast (Friesland Province). It is 32 km long and 90 meters wide and was finished in 1932. The dike separates the 'Ijsselmeer', so called inland water, which is the former Zuiderzee bay, from the Wadden Sea and the North Sea and is one of the main elements of the Zuiderzee Plant. This large-scale infrastructure project should serve to protect the mainland from storm surges as well as the inland through the construction of so-called 'polders' in order to reclaim new land. Along the Afsluitdijk is a Dutch highway with a rest-stop, fuel station and a turning point by Breezanddijk. In Afsluitdijk are the watergates of Den Oever and Kornwerderzand.

Since 2010, the Wadden Sea carries the coveted title of 'World Heritage' and the Netherland government takes the award as an opportunity to construct a tidal center in order to become familiar with the specific qualities and problems of this region. The government plans it in the immediate vicinity of the Breezanddiks - right on the water - the construction of an artificial island that will only be accessible by boat from Brezanddijk port. This building, which will explicitly deal with the natural environment 'Wadden Sea' has to fulfill three functions: 1. It will provide international science and research opportunities to explore the inquiries of the 'North Sea's ecosystem', as well as provide residential opportunities. 2. It will be an attraction for visitors and guests who are interested in the issues of climate change and ecological balance. 3. It should offer presentation capabilities for the temporary exhibitions to all the questions pertaining to the 'Wadden Sea'.

The building, which has incredible opportunities located openly to the forces of nature, should crown the location with a significant architecture, which deals specifically with the influences of wind, sun and weather, rising and falling water levels, rapid climate changes as well as with energy generation by wind, solar and water-power. It can thematize the bird flightpaths or the swarming behavior of the North Sea fish. Sought for is is a building that reflects the dynamic forces of nature in this transit-location and transfers that into an adaptive material-structure-form system.

The project deals with the construction type of the artificial island as a formal, programmatic and constructive phenomenon. In an experimental way, strategies with a parametric shaped formation are to be tested which relate dialogically to changing environmental factors.

Directed by: Prof. Matthias Karch