Land of Beacons
Winning competition proposal illustrating a new urban vision for Ymuiden
Awarded the Basis Prize in the 2006 Prix de Rome, this winning submission proposed a new urban vision for Ymuiden, an important port and crucial industrial city in the Netherlands. The new vision is a multiple one, relying on several interventions and carefully located designs, to trigger and activate certain potentials within the urban fabric. A sort of urban acupuncture.
The development of the Ymuiden area will be steered by large trends instead of local master plans. By recognizing these trends and providing places to accommodate them, a set of buildings called Beacons are the focal starting point of the evolution of the area. Beacons continue with the mechanisms at work in Ymuiden. They induce the growth of urban matter without creating the need for extensive support through infrastructure, large land acquisition or political backup. Instead of altering what is found, they overlay, intrude and extend - taking advantage of what is already there, absorbing and transforming the past. Together they form a network of potential for the city.
The Beacons are: the BREAKWATER BEACH HALL, the CULTURE FIELD, The CITY VERANDA, BEEHIVE, the FLOATING DUNE, the DUNE SHELTER, The Y-CHAMBER, the WATER MONUMENT and ELBOW INSTITUTE.
2 km radius (Fort Island - North Sea canal)
Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg
Verena Balz, Bruno Vermeersch, Eric Klarenbeek, Maartje Dros, Leon de Lange, Asli Cicek, Joop Smulders, Vincent de Rijk, Lucy Kennedy-Martin
Winner of the Prix de Rome Basis Prize
Juxtoposition in Ymuiden today (© Ooze)
Within one field of vision, scattered along the horizon, lie pieces of a city, new ones or monstrous archaic structures from the past. They lean against the dunes, sit on top of them or are hidden in the sand, only visible to the one who expects them to be there. They create the idea of a far-west undefined land, an urban terrain vague.
The reason for this lies in the very different nature, location and time of events, decisions and needs which motivated the appearance of these elements and which motivates them to change. Since the 17th century, plans were made to improve the waterways that connect Amsterdam to the North Sea. When in 1965 the decision on a new route was taken, it was planned efficiently on the spot where Holland is thinnest: Ymuiden came in to being at the mouth of the North Sea Canal.
Historical evolution of Ymuiden - gif (© Ooze)
Ymuiden in to the future -gif (© Ooze)
Beacons take impressions from their surroundings and cast them in one spot. They lean on an existing spatial condition, a dune, a derelict building, a wall: the condition is already there, and this process reinforces it. The places are chosen for their specific spatial configuration, or cultural, historical or social relevance, through a rationale such as the likeliness of movement around them, or for the poetic strength that they radiate.
Floating Dune: The Floating Dune reconstructs a previous condition: an uninterrupted stretch of coast that can be explored by a variety of routes: along Kennemerstrand, through the natural reserve Noord and Zuid Kennemerland, passing Forteiland. On the new connection one continues to cycle and walk. The Floating Dune operates in the least accessible but focal spot of Ijmuiden. It confronts a variety of possible uses and users with each other in precisely this spot.
Dune Shelter: The light construction counteracts a hollow in the sand, ready to collect what seeks protection and likes to be together.
City Veranda: Between city and port level is a step in topography. From the higher level of the city the port can be overseen. The City Veranda extends the public spaces of the city that are now cut by the edge, the streets, passages and squares, like a bridge into the port. The city is turned around; its backyard becomes first row. The structure superimposes height levels and merges port and city activities.
City Veranda & Beehive (© Ooze)
Beehive: The beehive is a new layer of activity on the current one without occupying its space and disturbing the functioning of the port. By seeking for underused spaces and intensifying them it adds a layer of growth in the urban matter. It provides new cheap places for working and living. It is a representation of how the city can grow and transform without creating the need for a large amount of new infrastructure.
Culture Field: The space within the Schnellbootbunker II is rigidly structured in 15 compartments separated by perforated walls of 7m solid concrete. The dark existing compartments are cast in glass and prolonged like fragile feelers into the open. The 15 halls, half of them indestructible, half of them fragile, half of them introvert, half of them extrovert, can be almost infinitely combined to different spaces.
Breakwater Beach Hall (© Ooze)
Breakwater Beach Hall - details (© Ooze)
Breakwater Beach Hall - Programmatic plan (© Ooze)
Breakwater Beach Hall - axo (© Ooze)
Breakwater Beach Hall: The Breakwater Beach Hall lies in the lee of the southern breakwater, overseeing the changing of the coast as the years pass by. Just as breakwater and beach form a unity, the sandy floor with pools of water forms a whole with the crystal roof of the hall. Because of its structure the hall can grow along the breakwater. It can be a pier, a promenade, a spa.
Water Monument: The Water Management Monument makes an imprint not of its direct surroundings but of the broader area around. All the land- and water levels that are controlled by the pump in Ymuiden are perceivable in a compressed landscape. The contained landscape is invisible from outside. Only sounds from activities on the water and in the port intrude. They are reminders of the power of the water landscape.
Elbow Institute: The Corus site sticks one end of its site, like the hull of a ship, towards the sea. This end is framed by a rampart which contains a cooling water pool. A thin stretch of land lies between the two types of water that could not be more different: natural and artificial, rough and smooth, contained and overwhelming. Highly visible, the Elbow Pollution Technology Institute marks the entrance of the North Sea Canal. Anyone who seeks attention on a global route might seek for this location.
Y-Chamber: The Y-Chamber is built on the foundations of speedboat bunker I. It is not a monument but uses a site that has been lying idle since its ground is polluted by a gigantic mass of concrete. The space that is created on the former location of a dark and introverted structure is its contrary: a light space with a wide view combining all the alien elements in an urban panorama. The void is wrapped by activities that thrive on the experimental, generous condition that is offered.