First price Archiprix competition won by a landscape machine!

The project ‘Ems, Full Hybrid’ by my former students Remco van der Togt and Jonas Papenborg (co-supervised by Harro de Jong)

won the prestigious Archiprix first price 2014.

For the project description see here

and for the jury report see below:

Each year the Dutch institutions offering Master’s programmes in architecture, urban design and landscape architecture select their best graduation projects and submit them to Archiprix.

Of the 27 submitted projects 21 are by students graduating in architecture. Two entries have urban design as the major subject and six have landscape architecture. Thirteen of the graduation projects are located abroad.

Armed with an ingenious strategy, this graduation project presents more than just an all-in solution to the serious and complex economic and ecological problems afflicting the Ems estuary. It adds a convincing long-term perspective for developing this area on the border between the Netherlands and Germany. The approach is professional in the extreme and scientifically underpinned where possible and clearly documented. The designers correctly acknowledge that this is a so-called wicked problem. There is a margin of uncertainty to be considered, since the effects of the proposed interventions are not entirely predictable. This explains the manoeuvrability of the strategy to be followed. The project makes a credible impression, illustrating that designing can combine well with scientific research. The design has appealing spatial qualities and is presented in a way that is transparent to all involved. The compelling tale is clearly told and beautifully portrayed. The project unfolds a series of related proposals that are technically well underpinned. The proposed measures are targeted at benefitting the processes in the area. These are not just natural processes such as the flow of the river and the effects of the tide, but also the displacement of water by the cruise ships passing by. The long disused polder system to either side of the river is exploited in a new way, in which discarded North Sea oil rigs get a new duty to perform. Besides generating an attractive landscape in which nature and production join forces, the project provides economic opportunities while putting an end to the expensive business of constant dredging. The designers make a convincing proposal, one that gives shape to their intention of taking the vitality of the Ems region to a higher level. It is a project that provides valuable insight to a wide audience, from scientists to inhabitants, from harbour barons to nature lovers. A project that impresses and delights.

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