Nederlands English

Londen, een gelaagde stad. De vergeten Fleet rivier stroomt nog steeds geruisloos onder de straten / London, a layered city. The forgotten River Fleet is still flowing silently beneath the streets.
Londen, een gelaagde stad. De vergeten Fleet rivier stroomt nog steeds geruisloos onder de straten / London, a layered city. The forgotten River Fleet is still flowing silently beneath the streets.

Het verborgen landschap onder de stad: voormalige zijbeken als potentiëel raamwerk voor een nieuwe stadsnatuur. / The hidden landscape underneath the city: former tributaries as potential lifelines for a new urban nature. rood: rivieren veranderd in riolen / red: rivers turned into sewers donkerrood: voormalige rivier de Fleet / dark red: the former River Fleet
Het verborgen landschap onder de stad: voormalige zijbeken als potentiëel raamwerk voor een nieuwe stadsnatuur. / The hidden landscape underneath the city: former tributaries as potential lifelines for a new urban nature. rood: rivieren veranderd in riolen / red: rivers turned into sewers donkerrood: voormalige rivier de Fleet / dark red: the former River Fleet

Vensters naar een ondergrondse natuur: iedere plek heeft haar eigen specifieke condities / Creating windows to an underground nature: each place has its own special conditions zand, grind / sand, gravel Londense klei, ondoordringbaar / London clay, impermeable kalk, waterdragend / chalk, permeable grondgesteente, ondoordringbaar / bedrock, impermeable rivierbron / river source rivier aftakking / river branch heilige rivier / holy river rivierterras / river terrace rivier vallei / river valley rivier monding / river outlet ± 10 km of twee uur lopen / c. 10 km or two hours’ walk
Vensters naar een ondergrondse natuur: iedere plek heeft haar eigen specifieke condities / Creating windows to an underground nature: each place has its own special conditions zand, grind / sand, gravel Londense klei, ondoordringbaar / London clay, impermeable kalk, waterdragend / chalk, permeable grondgesteente, ondoordringbaar / bedrock, impermeable rivierbron / river source rivier aftakking / river branch heilige rivier / holy river rivierterras / river terrace rivier vallei / river valley rivier monding / river outlet ± 10 km of twee uur lopen / c. 10 km or two hours’ walk

De voormalige riviermonding, het laatste venster bij de Thames: de getijden worden binnengelaten. / The former river outlet, the final window at the Thames: letting in the tides.
De voormalige riviermonding, het laatste venster bij de Thames: de getijden worden binnengelaten. / The former river outlet, the final window at the Thames: letting in the tides.

Mogelijke flora en fauna op de getijdeplek / Possible flora and fauna in the tidal area Lythrum salicaria regenboog forel / rainbow trout Populus alba regenslak / Thames door snail Cotula coronopifolia Hieracium murorum wolhandkrab / mitten crab
Mogelijke flora en fauna op de getijdeplek / Possible flora and fauna in the tidal area Lythrum salicaria regenboog forel / rainbow trout Populus alba regenslak / Thames door snail Cotula coronopifolia Hieracium murorum wolhandkrab / mitten crab

Getijdeplek tijdens laag water / Tidal area at low tide
Getijdeplek tijdens laag water / Tidal area at low tide

Getijdeplek tijdens hoog water / Tidal area at high tide
Getijdeplek tijdens hoog water / Tidal area at high tide

Het creëren van de juiste omstandigheden voor een fragiele natuur: nieuwe muur op het bestaande rioolstelsel / Creating the right conditions for a fragile nature: new wall on top of existing sewer
Het creëren van de juiste omstandigheden voor een fragiele natuur: nieuwe muur op het bestaande rioolstelsel / Creating the right conditions for a fragile nature: new wall on top of existing sewer




PROJECTINDEX
WINNER
NATURE IS UNDER YOUR FEET
Amsterdam University of the Arts
LANDSCAPE DESIGN

Discovering London’s subterranean landscape as a new nature
For those of us living in the city who are searching for nature, we don’t need to look far. Underneath our cities we can discover hidden landscapes that offer great opportunities for special and vulnerable biotopes. ‘Nature Is Under Your Feet’ focuses on the city of London, where twelve former tributaries of the River Thames are currently buried under layers of concrete and still flowing silently beneath the city. For one of these subterranean waterways – the former River Fleet – a sequence of six ‘windows’ has been created that connect the upper and lower worlds and where conditions can arise to support special biotopes.
When finding a place to settle down, we would always pick strategic places in the existing landscape to build a home. Living in and from the landscape gave us not only an understanding of the place but above all a sense of belonging and identity. Some of these settlements have changed dramatically and become ever-expanding cities. The connection with their subterranean and original landscapes has become blurred and can scarcely be felt. Not only does this affect the way people experience the city; it also reveals how our cities respond to current environmental issues such as heat stress, flooding, water shortages and loss of biodiversity.
As a consequence of these changes, it seems that we need to travel far from the city to find ‘nature’, but what if we were to look more carefully? Is nature still here? Isn’t it just buried under all these artificial city layers? Is nature hidden beneath our feet? And if so, can we try to integrate it better with the city?
In order to find answers to these questions, the project began by analysing the city of London, beneath which many of the former tributaries of the Thames are now buried. These secondary rivers were once the reason for people to settle here, but heavy pollution during the Industrial Era turned them into subterranean brick sewage systems. Focusing on one of these sewers, the project looks for new ways to connect the city with its underground landscape.

After turning one of the historical sewers – the Fleet sewer – into a discrete clean watercourse, a sequence of six carefully chosen incisions were designed where daylight and fresh air are allowed in. These ‘windows’ not only let passers-by discover the underground landscape of the city, they also provide unique conditions for a fragile nature that can flourish without being disturbed by the hectic urban life above. From river source to river outlet, the sewer sinks deeper and deeper into the soil, so that each ‘window’ has its own specific characteristics and habitat. At the source, for example, fresh water will flow from the many wild springs, while at the outlet the sewer will be reunited with the Thames, resulting in new tidal areas with an ecology based on brackish water.
‘Nature Is Under Your Feet’ aims to discover whether the hidden structure of the Fleet sewer could be an opportunity to create a ‘new nature’. This wouldn’t survive amidst the harsh city life above but below ground could facilitate unique and exceptional biotopes: a fragile nature to be found beneath your feet.