The Dutch have been masters at it for centuries, as can be seen in the design of buildings and the landscape in the Netherlands. Based on this vast experience, a new approach is currently emerging. It is no longer just about keeping the sea at bay, but about a spatial and urban planning approach that is responsive to the capricious character of nature.
The practice of building on, beside, above and below the water moreover looks set to soar to ever greater heights in the near future. Rising land prices, increasing constraints on building on dry land, and the expanding surface area of water available thanks to recent advances in water management and nature development (see Ideas) all contribute to the rapidly growing popularity of water as an alternative building location. Dutch architects like to incorporate the presence of water and the landscape of which it is a part. Well-known examples are the Delta Works, dwellings on water, and offices where the water laps up against the building.
Rebuild by design
What began as a new kind of design competition in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, has transformed into an innovative process that places local communities and civic leaders at the heart of a robust, interdisciplinary, creative process to generate implementable solutions for a more resilient region. Its inclusive process has since provoked a paradigm shift in the way that planners and governments approach both disaster response and emergency preparedness.
The Dutch played a significant part the process of ‘Rebuild by design’. Henk Ovink is the Principal of ‘Rebuild by Design’ and was Senior Advisor to the former US Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task. He was both Acting Director General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs and Director National Spatial Planning for the Netherlands. Ovink is responsible for long-term planning, design, and innovation strategy; the regional design competition ‘Rebuild by Design;’ the associated planning conference; and the follow-up national program on ‘Regional Resilience by Design.’
For more information about Rebuild by design, please click this link.