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Waterloopbos​ visitor center

In the Hydrodynamic Laboratory, the view of our landscape was developed by applying inventive engineering art. The laboratory was established in 1951 on the new land of the Noordoostpolder.  The whole world came to see this engineering art. The history of this special place is slowly becoming invisible. That is why Natuurmonumenten wants to create a visitors' pavilion to explain the history.


Due to the seclusion of the forest and the natural water course, there was a laboratory for 36 construction sites with 200 scale models. The harber in Rotterdam, the entrance to the St. Anna Bay in Curaçao, the port of Lagos in Nigeria, the port of IJmuiden, the mouth of the Escavos river Nigeria and the coast of Thijborøn in Denmark have been designed here.


The models were enclosed in the forest, so that weather influences had no influence on the scientific measurements. While walking through the forest, the models appear as a surprise in the various forest rooms. We have anchored the new visitor pavilion in its environment in the same way. By replanting the space around it, the building will be sheltered in a forest room, at a distance from artwork the Deltawerk by RAAAF & Atelier de Lyon.


We have taken the historical stratification of the area as the starting point for our design. We distinguish the forest in the polder, the models in the forest rooms and the scientific landscape of the engineer. The engineer's landscape has largely disappeared, but can still be found in beautiful black and white photographs. The models had to be observable and there was a structure for that. A wooden plank structure was there to walk on and an orthogonal grid of lines was used to read the scientific measurements. This vanished landscape with all its layers was the starting point for our visitors' pavilion.


The building and its public space has the same layer structure as a the historic scale model.

A regular octahedron of the wood construction, refers to the scientific landscape of lines and wooden planks. The construction is supported by an interior space in the shape of a diver. A simple rectangular shape with straight rounded corners. This shape can often be found in our hydraulic landscape, but also in the models in the Waterloopbos (Hydrodynamic Forest).


Under this construction a covered outdoor space is created where the historic story can be exhibited. The terrace is located in the middle of this outdoor exhibition. The public space is designed as a hydraulic engineering work that responds to water currents and is the ideal place for children to play.

Project: Waterloopbos visitor center
Client: Natuurmonumenten
Location: Markenesse
Status: Competition won - not realized
Team: Ard de Vries Architecten, Studio Donna van Milligen Bielke, DS landschapsarchitecten

Constructor: Lüning

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