The Netherlands is well known for its water management. One of the most iconic structures regarding water management is the Afsluitdijk. The dike, built in 1927, created from the sea a controlled lake in the heart of the Netherlands. The main aim was to keep the land from flooding. In 2009 a contest was held to make the dike not only an icon in water but also an icon in Dutch design and innovation.
We wanted to make a structure which would lead people to experience a dike in different ways. Instead of just walking on a dike, we wanted people to be able to walk inside the dike as well. This, to take away the distance from the water and instead make visitors a part of it. We tried to turn fear of water into an interaction with water.
To achieve this, we designed a strong transparant structure to be inserted in the dike. The glass structure contains an exhibition centre, a shop, an auditorium, a restaurant, accomodation and parking space. It recycles its own consumption and it is built out of re-usable materials. The sustainable installation systems the building is running on, are also part of the experience. Visitors can walk along the machines and get educated on how the system works. In times of stormy weather the visitors can even experience the forces of the water hitting the dike.