More than half of The Netherlands is situated below sea level. But landscape can be liquid too. Just next to natural park ‘de Biesbosch’ which is famous for their tide–related mangroves. Stijlgroep entered a competition to design a masterplan for a layout of 96 dwellings for the upper segment on a former athletic complex on an embanked area between city and national nature landscape. The brief stated the dwellings should be situated in a ‘green’ environment. We successfully reinterpreted the brief by introducing the elements of the Biesbosch to the plot. In short, we flooded the polder so now tides and water are the key-elements for the organisation of dwellings. This proved not to be an easy task; The relationship between the height of the homes, the normative high tide resulted in very specific starting points for the design. The solutions varied from living on stakes above the landscape to alternative ways of preparing the land for building to a closed mass-haul diagram. The winning result is a unique living environment for a niche of extraordinary houses and architecture in a communal landscape that embraced all: nature, ecology, quality of living, sustainable and valuable residences and water management. Because of the need to protect the inhabitants in an area under the influence of the tidal landscape, all houses are built at a level that insures safety for even the worst sea rise level scenarios. Plan Tide, living in a tidal landscape received many national and international awards over the years and is an inspiration for planners, universities and - of course - parties that are interested in water management and water adaptive urban development. The inhabitants don’t mind this interest in their habitat. They return “to their holiday” each day they come back from work.

Location: Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Client: De Koning Wessels
Partners: Klunder architecten
Date: 2001 - 2009
Category: Strategy, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Public Space