Studio Shift’s proposal for the World Sustainability Center in Afsluitdijk, Netherlands offers flexible environments to accommodate an educational conservation facility for both students and researchers, as well as the general public. The strong geometric complex emphasizes different connections on the macro scale, by relating to other major metropolises, infrastructures, educational facilities and park systems, and the micro scale by fusing its own new “sphere of influence” with its immediate community.
More images, diagrams, drawings and information after the break.
Regarded as a “mixing-pot” for the varied educational interests the building hosts, the Center provides an interface for progressive thinking between academic research and the efforts of professionals. “The landscape and architectural forms present an exhilarating and progressive investigation into emerging technologies while offering a flexible enough environment to accommodate the rapid pace of change inherent in resource conservation research. The Center must define itself as an agglomeration of many entities with common interests and therefore cannot be reflected in a simple, single structure,” explained the architects.
The project takes full advantage of its siting on the Wadden Sea with an educational pier for ecological observation and an actively programmed park to add a new node to the Dutch national park system. Floating piers with temporary exhibitions educate visitors about emerging sustainable strategies and technologies. A marina, outdoor amphitheatre and agricultural research garden grace the Lake Ijssel strip with visitors arriving via energy-efficient shuttle buses and watercrafts.
The offices are arranged as research clusters, encouraging collaboration between various disciplines and groups. “There is no distinction made between the facilities of academics and professionals as it is envisioned that they will work side-by-side,” added the architects. Vertical circulation systems placed within interior gardens maximize social interaction as the shared gardens provide a small gathering space.
he observation tower stands over the submerged lecture hall, and its form provides a variety of framed views of the landscape. The architects envision the tower as a means to investigate energy-production or serve as a surface for the cultivation of organic food products.
Several key features include a high-performance, operable metal façade shading system that responds in its articulation to the building’s orientation relative to the sun. Façade panels alternate between solid panels (solar), perforated panels (glare and sun control) and void panels (view apertures). Additionally, all hard and soft surfaces including the roofs are optimized for rain water collection and filtration and the lake is used as a heat sink for the cooling system, eliminating the need for specific conventional mechanical equipment.
Project Team: Mario Cipresso (Principal), Irina Krusteva, Ryan Ramirez, Tanya Retherford, Bryan Chavac, Ken Matsui, Garrett Helm