International regional planning competition “Kust in beweging”.
Regional strategy for the decongestion of highway traffic and tourism revitalization of the coast of the Netherlands.
Organisation: Architectuur Lokaal, The Netherlands.
Year: 2004.


Landscape “hearthquake”: functional epicenters and connection line.

The project is willing to offer to the contemporary tourist the possibility to experience the maritime Dutch landscape through the cross of the new park coast way. It is able to articulate itself through in land and coast to allow the best way from north to south and vice versa, through the most characteristic territorial environments on the coast.
The crossing system wants to transform the tourists’ behavior in their approach toward the coast. We believe that the right strategy to solve at the same time the accessibility problem and the revitalization of the Dutch coast does not deal with new infrastructures.
In order to preserve the inner qualities of each environment, we operate on an ecological and social scale: we move the human flows to new yet undiscovered landscapes, full of special qualities because in between nature and artifice ( i.e. the Maasvlakte). We create those new landscapes simply declaring their landscaping power and we move from one to the other through the only system that allows a 360˚perception of the landscape: the boat. It allows the visitor to maximize the natural experience even during the migration, because it stays as part of the experience.

The result is the creation of a net of “activities epicenters”, acting as social magnets. Human flows spread over the territory instead of concentrating. They can enjoy the wonder of the whole Dutch landscape by crossing the new coast way and its amazing collection of beauties.
International tourists, backpackers, Dutch daily visitors can feel free to choose their own way to experience the coast.

The tourist can potentially start the experience in Vlissingen in the south or in Lauwersoog in the north, as well as in an intermediate epicenter, and, like in a fairy tale, cross the variety of landscapes always carrying with themselves their own car. This way allows them to leave the coast way to go back to earth whenever they feel they want to skip the “cruise” or modify the path.

We try to operate on both regional and local scale because we strongly believe that the Dutch coast presents both qualities. Its power stays on the co presence of amazing natural landscapes, reserves of fauna and flora for exciting educational visits from nature lovers, and hyper artificial landscapes, kind of lunar environments in which the visitor would discover a new way to interpret the nature of the contemporary landscape; a bridge between cityscape and natural uncontaminated landscape.

Next step is the definition of a hierarchy between micro and macro epicenters. The first ones operate as transfer points, allowing the incoming flows to redistribute to the macro functional epicenters through the sea transportation system. Though we keep the existing epicenters as Scheveningen, Zandvoort with their qualities, we try to decongest them through the redistribution of some functions to the new epicenters (i.e. the Maasvlakte, Vlieland, Oostersheldekering), defining new parks, with peculiar qualities. From north to south the chain of national parks shows the intention to offer completely different qualities, though strictly related to the site properties:

  1. North island natural reserve: the territorial context of the north islands which keeps and maximize its actual natural qualities. It becomes the international natural reserve of Holland; place for ornithologists, biologists and great lovers of pure nature.
  2. Ijsselmeer gate: an entrance landscape. We decided to stay out of the Ijsselmeer in order to preserve the coherent idea of following the line of our coast way. This moving park follows the line of the bridge connecting the Randstad to the north. It becomes the most exciting place for surfers, fishermen; a rollercoaster with total view on the North Sea.
  3.  North Holland dunes: the beauty of the dunes of this area is preserved and optimized by minimal interventions, mainly based on a decentralizing strategy which improves its natural qualities in order to support the neighborhood Randstad coast park, actual touristic and traffic bomb.
  4. Randstadt coast park, the actual centre of gravity of the Dutch costal tourism. The park declares its urban connotation. It tries to solve the terrible problems of accessibility that affect it nowadays., though. Scheveningen, Zandvoord, Wassenar, etc can finally hope to see some of the massive flow of people move to other beautiful and equally worth places.
  5. Maaswlakte industrial reserve: this area is currently a place where people go to enjoy the views of the sea, to make water sports and to be unexpectedly fascinated by the contrast between nature and massive industrialization. We keep the factories scenario as an element to be preserved because responsible of the constitution of the identity of this place. It becomes our playground to experience all the possible experimentations on adding functions to the landscape. Drive in on the beach, theatre, fashion defiles, thematic fairs and showrooms follow the changing agenda of this playworld which turns to be the close competitor of Scheveningen.
  6. South beach: the beauty of the islands becomes ironically the Californian scenario of Holland. Like a parkway running from San Diego to San Francisco, the parkway crosses a necklace of beautiful beaches. From one island into the next, and never loosing the perception of the mobility environment and enjoying the magnificence of the dikes scenario, piece of the history of Dutch engineering.
  7. Delta expo park: the park in the park, it becomes the masterpiece within the south beach line. It offers, in this scenario, the exception to the rule, the unexpected switch from sea landscape to Laguna. Quietness and congestion can be combined in this enormous regional swimming pool.

Plug-in landscape.

The way people move through this landscaping system becomes itself a landscape. It is materialized as a flexible system, the “plug-inn landscape”.
The system, like a natural organism, unfolds during the spring-summer season to allow the maximum usage of its potentials. It is able to leave the home coast to migrate all over the seascape, colonizing the many epicenters and adapting itself to its nature and peculiarities. The infinite patterns they can assume can be suitable either for the minimal functions (i. E. basic beach element) or the most articulated ones (i. e. floating villages).
They are based on the use of platform elements fixed through the use of wooden poles which give them both stability, protection from water currents and path ways.  During the winter those islands go back to the beach, staking the elements and refolding the pier, so minimizing the natural impact; the animal goes back to winter sleep.

The main reason we want to use those floating landscapes for is to try to keep the real cost as much as possible preserved. We are fascinated by the idea of contemplating the coast as a stage for the outside or vice versa to use the coast as a plateau to contemplate the sea.
We also think that this strategy could allow many functional scenarios that could optimize the realistic image of the intervention:

  1. Maximum flexibility allows different scales of the intervention.
  2. 2- economical advantage, adapting the scenario to different functions: private companies, as well as municipalities and the central government and touristic institutions could take economical advantage during summer of winter time, through itinerant tourism. This way tourism could bring lots of visitors both from Holland and abroad, curious of experiencing the go>kust.
  3. The system would follow the seasonal touristic flows reducing the productivity in winter. The minimal system could turn to be a basic shopping mall, kind of fair place in the cold season, able to attract locals to thematic piers that could offer information and/or shopping facilities. Private companies could sponsor the system and take advantage of the seasonal incomes.

Technical aspects.

  • Energy consumption: the portion of coast we planned for massive colonization is the one of the Maasvlakte and the south islands. They are supposed to consume the biggest amount of energy in the created system because offering the more functions and articulated “plug in system”. They could be energy supplied by the wind complexes of the area itself.
  • Building technology: the system foresees the use of a prefabricated modular technology, largely explored nowadays and in the past, easy for transportation, assemblage, extremely cheap.


Research project “In nova fert animus mutatas dicere fromas corpora”
Masterplan for the sound barrier of Ypenburg and project of a multifunctional building.
Data: housing, offices, parking, park, retail mall, multiplex cinema, student house, swimming pool, restaurant and exhibition space, NS railway station.
Location: Ypenburg, Den Haag, The Netherlands.
Year: 2002.

The infrastructure as generator of new forms of architecture.
Mobility is one of the topic issues in contemporary Dutch architecture. In the last years Dutch urban planning policy has been concentrated on the planning of new urban extensions, the VINEX areas. The program includes a total of 635.000 dwellings, built within 2005 on base of a contract signed by central government, provinces and municipalities. About 25.000 dwellings are planned in the seven major cities, 100.000 of which in the internal areas, 161.000 in the remaining urban areas and 177.000 outside of them.
The whole VINEX project will have the greatest impact on the shape of the Dutch cities in the next century, comparable to the reconstruction projects from the post world war II period. The majority of the urban population nowadays lives and works in areas of expansion of the cites. The environment of the contemporary inhabitant is the periphery, which turns to be the new centre. For this reason the life style in those areas is rapidly changing. The traditional model of the family is replaced now by new more complex social models.
This implies the need to avoid planning mistakes, due to the design of mono-functional areas. Projects for multifunctional complexes, with an urban character and a complex and rich program, which could relate to the existing city, were not so far considered. No attention has been given to the possibility of combining public transport with new housing and working typologies, which would adapt to the complex and changing lifestyle of our times.
One of the main Vinex areas is Ypenburg, built on the area of a former airport entering den Haag. The municipalities of Den Haag, Nootdorp, Pijnacker and Rijswijk participated to the project in a joint venture, since they all owned part of the land constituting the VINEX area. The basic program included the construction of 11.000 dwellings and 85ha reserved to offices. Ypenburg is placed in the meeting point of very contrasting environmental situations: preexisting send dunes, the polders to the south and the dynamic world of the highway to the north. This last element in particular contributed to distinguish the area which, thou being situated in the centre of the region, is still isolated from the close villages and city by the highway boundary.
“In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora” proposes the switch of the traditional concept of “city centre”, into a new “city ring”. The left space of the sound barrier becomes a public band embracing the whole urban area of Ypenburg and offering along the way a continuous program mix which provides the town with an added program, capable to convert it from a “dormitory” into a village, with its own identity. Working on the urban layers allows the combination of the three main realities within the area: the highway, the public space and an added landscape level which resembles nature in its original state.
Folding of the layers and their superimpositions, create different scenarios in every situation, generating a multiple experience always related to the particular condition of each spot. The result generates different life conditions, since the three layers offer very different rhythms of life. A sport centre, a cinema, common spaces, office buildings and parking structures, a students house, are combined with new housing types offering a new dynamic lifestyle for the contemporary suburban inhabitant.