Water Works

Ever since the early middle ages, the Dutch have been building dikes and mounds in order to make life in the soggy lowlands possible. In the course of the centuries, the waterworks became increasingly ingenious. Today, a large part of the Dutch landscape is characterized by polders, canals, locks and pumping stations. These waterworks don’t just create local identity, they are still very functional. They ensure water safety and facilitate water transport. It is not surprising that technical and economic interests sometimes clash with the interests of landscape and cultural history. Technical and economic developments cause an ongoing process of upscaling. Cultural history, leisure and nature ask for lower dynamics. The big challenge is to enhance these ‘softer’ qualities, while keeping the waterworks up to date. In our designs we clearly show the contrast between natural processes and technical interventions. This tells the story of the ambiguous relationship between mankind and water.