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The steep side of the stuwwal combined with climatic change will provide an excellent basis for new crops such as grape vines. The present office buildings adjoining the ridge margin will be transformed into an organic farm with a winery and wine-tasting amenity.
The steep side of the stuwwal combined with climatic change will provide an excellent basis for new crops such as grape vines. The present office buildings adjoining the ridge margin will be transformed into an organic farm with a winery and wine-tasting amenity.

0070 harmony between water and ridge
0070 harmony between water and ridge

2020. First step: making the ridge fertile.
2020. First step: making the ridge fertile.

2060. Public access to the ridge landscape is assured by the transformation of the existing buildings into a number of pavilions which respect the surrounding landscape. The location of each pavilion is based on its potential relation to the ridge.
2060. Public access to the ridge landscape is assured by the transformation of the existing buildings into a number of pavilions which respect the surrounding landscape. The location of each pavilion is based on its potential relation to the ridge.

The organic restaurant in harmony with the street scene and the ridge.
The organic restaurant in harmony with the street scene and the ridge.

Strategy to reanimate the ridge
Strategy to reanimate the ridge





PROJECTINDEX
 
VIBRANT MORAINE
Academie voor Architectuur en Stedenbouw - Tilburg
ARCHITECTURE

Vibrant Moraine
The project presents a plan the scenic and architectural rehabilitation of part of a stuwwal, a ridge formed by ice-age glacial action, in Nijmegen. The ridge extends into the city centre, where the characteristic landscape has been severely degraded by postwar occupation. A new infrastructure for clean water is the principle ingredient that will give the distinctive stuwwal landscape a new lease of biological vitality. Step-by-step transformation of the existing buildings at plinth level will create a fertile base for various pavilions.
Topological contrasts such as those between high and low ground give this ridge landscape a unique character. The complex soil geology supports a wide diversity of flora and fauna, but the outstanding beauty of the landscape is vulnerable to ongoing climate change. The ridge forms a natural geomorphological link between Nijmegen and Cleves, across the border in Germany. Water has played a big part in its considerable ecological and historical interest. In Roman times, an aqueduct carried water from the springs and streams of the ridge. The springs are fed by rainwater which permeates through the layers of sand and loam in the course of several months to a year. The buffering capacity of the ridge assures a year-round outflow of water at a practically constant temperature of 12 degrees. The streams consequently never freeze over in winter. Today’s urban landscape of the ridge is dominated by paved surfaces, infrastructure and buildings. These prevent the natural absorption of rainwater into the soil so that the ridge is in danger of drying out. The risk is accentuated by global warming.

Climate change also results in more frequent periods of heavy rainfall. The precipitation can be put to use to restore fertility to the drying soil. In the design, the renewed water network follows the historic route of the Roman aqueduct. This natural watercourse continues into the city centre of Nijmegen where, together with a fresh breeze, it will provide a pleasant public venue on hot summer days.

Once the underlying soil has become fertile and liveable, the buildings can be transformed at ground-floor level. The ridge landscape is made accessible to the public by transformation of the present buildings into multiple pavilions. Each pavilion enters into a particular relationship with the ridge. The steep margin of the ridge, together global warming, provides an excellent basis for new crop cultivation such as viniculture. The present office buildings which border on the ridge will be converted into an organic farm and winery. The edge of the ridge is a place where the history of Nijmegen lies open to view. The pavilion to be sited at this spot will act as an extension of the present Valkenhof Museum and will share its visual relationship to the prospect. The pavilion’s vocabulary of form and materials will underscore this relationship. The woodland surroundings will also be host to a prefab ‘hotel room’ which is an addition to the existing hotel complex. It will be mounted on the existing concrete columns, thereby conveying the suggestion of a tree house.

The design of the pavilions, while starting from the present structure of the buildings at ground floor level, relates to the watercourse, to the view, to the urban and rural context and to natural weather influences. The glass pavilion, for example, will function as an organic restaurant which introduces local produce to the visiting public. Wide overhangs under the existing buildings will provide solar shading. An atrium roof promotes natural ventilation in the partially screened stair well. This core will be part of the energy management system and will provide heat-cold storage to the buildings. Underlining the importance of using precipitation, the rainwater filtration system is exposed to view.

The building materials for the pavilions come mainly from recycled demolition waste from the existing buildings. Masonry materials will be used for pavilions on the city side and various types of recycled wood for those on the ridge margin. The variations in colour of the building materials will help the pavilions to blend quietly with the green woodland surroundings.

This approach allows existing buildings to be retained, while counteracting further degradation of the ridge. The landscape will in future be appreciated for its inherent value and as an asset to the city. A cross-disciplinary strategy is therefore vital here. It will also be applicable other damaged stuwwal ridges.