Surfing + Flood

Surfing the flood, entry for the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2005

The H+N+S entry for the second Architecture Biennale Rotterdam forms a perspective on what we should (and should not) do in order to face the challenges of living below sea level.

A rise in sea level, extreme rainfall, subsidence and extensive salinization require collective action with regard to the water system. The urbanisation situation in 2010 shows that a number of choices need to made on a structural level, while there is still time. In ‘Riding the waves of the flood’ water tasking will be dealt with in wetlands which offer opportunities and allure for recreational users, developers, flora and fauna. This is a call for anticipation and facilitation: in the one case we need to be reserved and stop urbanisation, in another case we need to invest in new water components, and in yet another case we need to free ride on new opportunities.

The new water system is made up of different components: locations for temporary storage of large amounts of precipitation on highly urbanised areas. Storing salt water seeping upwards which heavily deteriorates the quality of the water in the Green Heart during dry seasons, and the storage of fresh water to fill and flush the system during dry seasons.