2016/ From Infrastructure to Flowscape_The Houtribdijk As An Operative Landscape Structure , Category A

​Nowadays, there are massive infrastructures with a single functionality superimposed on the environment regardless of the dynamic nature and urban development. It is unexploited regarding how to transform the infrastructure and thus reshaping the built environment and dynamic landscape based on the processes (Nijhuis, S and Jauslin, D., 2015). The same problems happen within my research site- The Houtribdijk which is located in the Ijsselmeer, the Netherlands.

The Houtribdijk was built up not only to connect Enkhuizen and Lelystad, but also to make the new south western polder for agriculture. However the new polder plan was cancelled. Instead of becoming the edge of the land, the Houtribdijk became an edge of two water bodies: the Ijsselmeer and the Markermeer. With the development of the natural and urban system, the Houtribdijk became superimposed into the environment and it causes ecological and social problems. For instance, the dike blocks the two water bodies from water exchanging and fish migration. As a result, the turbidity in the water is trapped within the Markermeer which leads to a poorer water quality. Moreover, the dike carries a long-distance and high-speed traffic line but there is almost no accessibility to shelters and a place to stay. Even though there are beach areas for recreation on both sides of the Houtribdijk, there is no connection between the two dike shores. Furthermore, though the Houtribijk connects these two different urban tissues, there is a lack of social communication and sympathetic response between a traditional city (Enkhuizen) and a new polder city (Lelystad). Overall, as a single-purpose technical infrastructure, the Houtribdijk does not have the initiative towards the dynamic natural and urban environment.

As landscape architects, we start to rethink the relationship between processes and formal aspects of the urban landscape infrastructures. Instead of “forms follow function” defined in the architectonic fields, “forms follow processes” is proposed in the landscape fields. Here, the landscape processes are introduced as a formative power to transform the single-purpose infrastructure into a more comprehensive form of urban landscape architecture. As a conceptual result, it is interpreted as “Flowscape” (Nijhuis, S and Jauslin, D., 2015) which regards the infrastructure as an operative landscape structure. The concept states that the infrastructure is a part of landscape and the surrounding environment is a part of the infrastructure. As a result, it forms a landscape zone with the Houtribdijk in the instead of a linear structure in the Ijsselmeer (See master plan).

During the design-based research, it explored the interactive relation between the dynamic natural processes and the forms in a landscape design language. In order to do the further research in a larger scale, I chose the high-potential part of the Houtribdijk -“Trintelhaven” to make a landscape proposal. The shallow water areas near the Trintelhaven are transformed into a connected foreshore where different vegetation can grow, at the same time it can offer a habitat for fauna groups as well as recreational space for the public. The new marshland to the north of the Trintelhaven can break the wave and wind setup in order to create a peaceful water area for the fauna groups to live on and offer more nutrients for the local fish as well as the birds. As a result, the diversity of the fauna and flora would be increased which could form a more stable and self-repaired ecosystem. Moreover, the foreshore, marshland and the mussel fields would help with clearing the water. At the end, humans could also benefit from the new ecological landscape by integrating recreational infrastructure into the environment.

Based on the new landscape condition, the intervention of two landscape architectures are introduced into the site. They are parts of the landscape and becoming a spiritual media to carry the space and guide your movements at the same time offer the accessibility to both sides of the dike. Because the dike peak shifts, the expression of the two accessible space also changed. One is the tunnel under the dike peak brings you into a heavy dark space then to a open horizon. The other one is a light bridge over the dike peak brings you into a water forest. These two carriers of the space “share” the inverse spirits. One is closed, dark and mysterious, the other one is open, bright and evident. These experiences of the space have the interaction to the surroundings and they work together to improve the spatial quality. From the cultural aspect, they interact with the “horizons” because the Houribdijk is the only place you can experience both sides of open lakes horizon. As a result, the exhibition of Mark Rothko’s paintings in the tunnel is telling a story of open horizons and his emotions which is corresponded to the real horizon when you get out of the tunnel. When you walk on the curve bridge, the horizon in the distance is going up and down with certain rhythm like the music of Jogn Cage “In A Landscape” and his music notes drawings.

Overall, the interdisciplinary approaches and multi-scale design within the “Flowscape” framework are applied into the Houtribdijk project. It not only aims to solve a problem, but also to provide a good landscape condition for the long-term natural and urban development. In a human perspective view, the landscape architecture design brings the spatial quality as well as cultural and social evocation.

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