Marker Wadden Charrette

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View / Download Student Presentations:
Group 01 – Elissa Brown, Stephen Himmerich
Group 02 – Nate Bond, Solange Guillaume
Group 03 – Montana Harinsuit, Michael Schiebe
Group 04 – Ryan Coates, Stephanie Erwin

The MarkerWadden charrette took place the week of March 24-29, 2013. Master of Landscape Architecture students from the University of Minnesota worked with Roel Posthoorn and Hesper Schutte from the Natuurmonumenten, and landscape architect Jan Wouter Bruggenkamp, in designing 500 hectares of land and 500 hectares of water for ecological function and human use.

The Marker Wadden is the current plan by the Natuurmonumenten for balancing the ecology in the Markermeer (or “Marker Lake”), the freshwater lake that was created by the construction of the North Sea closure dam in 1932 and the Houtrib dike in 1974. As the former tidal basin of the Zuiderzee, the current Marker Lake is uniformly shallow and turbid, which together create inhospitable conditions for healthy aquatic ecology.

The Marker Lake was never meant to be; it came about as a result of the decision to not make the fifth polder in Cornelus Lely’s Zuiderzeeworks plan of 1895, the Makerwaard polder, which was on track to be completed in the 1970s. As Roel explained, the decision to not construct the fifth polder was an “incomplete decision;” all the supporting infrastructure had been built with a large landmass in mind, not the open water of the Marker Lake. No plans were made to balance the ecology of a shallow body of water with no structural variation that is 70,000 hectares (270 square miles) in size.

Roel Posthoorn is the fire behind the plan for the Marker Wadden, and the project manager for the Natuurmonumenten. Last year, students in this course were the first to dive into the “dream of the MarkerWadden,” as the project had just been awarded its first seed money in February, 2012. This year funding for the project is becoming more secure, and plans are going forward for how the fist phase of islands will be designed for ecological development, human use, and how the project will be phased over time.

Below are the results of the charrette – four teams of two students created a design schemes for the first 500 hectares of land + 500 hectares of water for the first phase of the Marker Wadden. The projects are below, with links to download the boards. They take a while to load.

Interactive Ecologies: Building Experience in a Land of Water
Elissa Brown, Stephen Himmerich
What could the Marker Wadden be? What values could it provide? What could it look like? We envision the Marker Wadden as a place of interaction, where ecology and people can come together. The construction of the islands will catalyze ecological progress in the Markermeer, as suspended silt is pulled from the lake and put to a new, productive use. The ecological systems on the islands will be dynamic and always improving; as experience is gained through oungoing research the approach to construction will also improve. The islands will be a work in progress, but open to visitors from the start. As the Marker Wadden emerges and takes shape, it will be like nowhere else. A place where deeper understanding develops, where new approaches take shape, where notions of what a beautiful nature can and should be are flipped around. A land of water, constantly evolving, an unforgettable experience every time.

Radiant Ecology
Nate Bond, Solange Guillaume
The potential existence of the Marker Wadden begs the question: what is nature? Can a place that will be called natural come into existence only through human intervention? In the case of this endeavor, the answer is likely yes.In this project, we seek to shape the Marker Wadden through obvious constructs—rectilinear shapes, gabian walls, new projections in the landscape— yet the hope is that these pieces create a home for wildlife that can be both observed and protected. Like arms outstretched, embracing the Ijselmeer, this version of the Wadden could be seen to create a passage for bird migration at the same time enfolding visitors and wildlife in its inner ring.

The Marker Wadden Eco-Scape
Montana Harinsuit, Michael Schiebe
Through an extensive process of silt collection and land creation, the Marker Wadden Eco-scape will provide tremendous habitat for many plants and animals as well as allow for human interaction and exploration of a beautiful landscape. Plagued by sedimentation and turbidity problems, the Markermeer is in need of a careful yet deliberate plan to reverse the ill effects and transform the lake into a thriving ecological and recreational haven.

Axi Isles: A cultural landscape of ecological opportunities
Ryan Coates, Stephanie Erwin
Through the diking of the Zuiderzee, two lakes were created: the Ijsselmeer and the Markermeer. Originally docketed to be a polder, the Markermeer lacks hydrological sustainability with its inability to flush out sediments. As a result, the largest freshwater lake in Europe has suffered tremendously. How can this process be reversed? How can the lake be healed? These new islands create a construction of nature and subsequently, a cultural landscape. The design explores the inherent continuum of an ecological and cultural landscape and the temporality of place. The extreme conditions on the Markermeer require protective wind and current barriers. There is an opportunity to manifest the idea of a continuum in the landscape through dike typologies and habitat zones. The concept capitalizes on the vastness of the space and the seemly endless horizon, which is a rare quality in the Netherlands. The emptiness of the horizon, ever so often punctuated with landmarks, became an informant of the directionality of the dike structures. Directional, angular dikes point towards these landmarks along the horizon. These structures provide a gradient of habitat in the crooks of the infrastructure. The juxtaposition of structural dikes and nature acts as a constant reference of culture in the landscape.