Paula + Peter. Thesis Special* // Ground the Underground
Paula Banda + Peter Kekich
Undergraduate Thesis// Class of 2012 // SCI-ARC
Advisor: Florencia Pita
GROUND THE UNDERGROUND
Our thesis will rectify the disconnection between the natural and artificial datum of the ground as an attempt to utilize infrastructure as an interdependent element, which shifts and unifies the urban fabric.
The climate changes call for both challenges and opportunities for delta cities all over the world. Specifically Rotterdam, a city dominated by infrastructure is constantly subjected to high levels of water due to most of the city lying under sea level. Rotterdam is currently situated in what is known as Levee Ring 14; an interconnected ring of flood defense that encircles a large section of the Netherlands. It is constantly transforming as city on water.
This scenario has led the thesis to re-imagine infrastructure as an opportunity to ground the underground. By using the existing levees as a new urban ground, Rotterdam can reclaim land.
Our proposal suggested, that instead of raising the levees higher, it could be used as a new urban ground to reclaim land that is adaptable to water.
Our urban strategy begins with utilizing the existing levee surrounding the city to maintain the city by the river. This urban project develops over a 200-year period and will start today. By utilizing the natural process of ecological systems, land can be reclaimed through the sedimentation process, which acts as a buffer to decrease flooding.
The thesis provides an opportunity to challenge architecture against the fear of scale and letting go of the ground in effecting programmatic, infrastructural and social transformations in relation to this constantly changing ground.