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Life atop the pole-field
Life atop the pole-field

Aerial view of field of poles
Aerial view of field of poles

A summer's day at the beach
A summer's day at the beach

It's not always sunny
It's not always sunny

The situation today
The situation today

The dunes after 20 years. The pole-field is present across its full width, a new access road takes the pressure off the roads of Westland, the villages beyond develop their core areas.
The dunes after 20 years. The pole-field is present across its full width, a new access road takes the pressure off the roads of Westland, the villages beyond develop their core areas.

The dunes after 60 years. The coastline is back to where it was in 1622.
The dunes after 60 years. The coastline is back to where it was in 1622.

The dunes after 70 years. The coastline has shifted 2 km seawards, the pole-field has disappeared, the landscape remains.
The dunes after 70 years. The coastline has shifted 2 km seawards, the pole-field has disappeared, the landscape remains.




PROJECTINDEX
 
DYNAMIC LIVING IN A CHANGEABLE LANDSCAPE
Amsterdam University of the Arts
URBAN DESIGN

A sand-engine off the Zuid-Holland coast gives a dynamic landscape, a rich natural environment, unique surroundings in which to live and additional protection against the sea.
The task I set myself was to design a residential estate with a fascinating living environment in a readily identifiable landscape, the dunes. Not in the existing dunes but in new ones that are to take shape off the coast. As an urban designer, I have a keen interest in creating area-specific residential settings, taking current and past characteristics of the landscape into serious consideration. My background as a landscape designer is beneficial to my quest into what landscape can mean for urban design and visa versa. This is no static plan. I have designed it out of the symbiosis of an ever-changing and growing landscape, its nature and temporary forms of dwelling. The aim is to reclaim land and nature, supported financially by an exceptional form of dwelling.
I moved back to The Hague and have been living there for some time now. The dunes fascinate me as a landscape. They protect me from the water, they hold out the opportunity to indulge my spare time and make room for nature. What is most fascinating is that this landscape is constantly in motion. Dune crests can differ in height by several metres a year, they move around, they swell and shrink. It is as if they were alive. It is with this living factor that I began on my design. I have sought a way of dwelling that can take up the landscape dynamic.
It was the coast between Hoek van Holland and Scheveningen Harbour that offered me the opportunity to develop dwellings in a living landscape in the dunes. There, plans are in the pipeline for a so-called sand-engine that is to strengthen the weak spots in the coastal defence system. New sand is to be introduced on the foreshore so that the existing dune landscape can accrete naturally. I have taken up this growth and examined its potentials. My quest produced a design that is inextricably bound up with the dunes, a residential setting every bit as dynamic as the growth of the dune landscape.
The scheme constructs a grid of poles that catch sand, generate landscape and facilitate dwelling. These poles are shaped so as to be able to catch sand together, the way arram grass does, and stand in the most dynamic part of the dunes. Once the beach is high enough and parts are left permanently dry, the poles are placed there. Sand is held fast between the poles where it forms a dune. Dwellings are placed atop the poles. The dune grows and rises above the poles. Poles and dwellings likely to be submerged by the sand are removed from the system and returned to the 'pole-machine'. This means that dwelling units get relocated every five years.
The landscape grows into the sea, strengthening the coastal defence structure. It is impossible to inhabit the area along established lines since the dunes are constantly changing. This is where the true pioneers are, who carve out their own place to live and are prepared to move it around. Responding to the growth of the dunes, they will innovate their home on each new occasion from the knowledge acquired about living in this landscape. In this new dwelling form one is inextricably bound up with the landscape. Dwelling, landscape and leisure activities meld together seamlessly.