Wetenschap - 10 mei 2011

Wooden fence to protect coast

Landschape Architecture student Jorrit Noordhuizen and fellow student Inge Kersten have jointly won second prize from the International Federation of Landscape Architects in a major design competition for students. Their design? A wooden fence which can be used to grow sand dunes and as a swing.

Tell us more about your design.
For our final year project, we went to America for two months to research into natural dynamics of the coast, such as sand migration, wave impact and coast formation. Nature and man are in constant conflict there. The rise of cities has almost wiped out the natural dune landscape, while once in a few years, a row of houses is lost to the sea. We tried to equip the inhabitants with something to reinforce the city and at the same time, to rebuild the dune landscape.
'Eventually, we came up with a simple, protractible wooden construction which can be extended to as long as needed. Stretched out, it traps sand and enables a new dune to build up over time. Folded, it becomes a swing, a bicycle rack or a bench. People can decide themselves what to do with it. The contraption is made of untreated pine wood and would very likely disappear after about two years due to weathering.'
Is the prize a prestigious one?
'The contest is organized by the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). It's quite a major prize, particularly for landscape architecture students. There were 390 entries from all over the world. The prize opens doors for us. We've already been asked to give a talk at Atelier Atelier Fryslân, an organization involved in coast protection by the Wadden Sea.'
What did you win?
'The second prize is 2500 dollars and a certificate.  Part of the prize money will perhaps be spent when we go to Zurich to get the prize at the end of June. We will put aside the remainder for our company, Atelier SCOPE, which we have just set up together with other fellow students. I'm hoping to implement our plan in the Netherlands too. We have constructed a prototype which we very much want to try out.'