Sander Hermens won 1st Prize (Group Han Prize) at IFLA 2016

Published on
May 12, 2016

Sander Hermens won the 1st Prize at the IFLA Student Award 2016! He entered with Responsive Land. His MSc thesis was supervised by Adriaan Geuze.

Abstract: Responsive land: A sustainable future for the Dutch historical peat meadows

In the peat meadow landscape in the Netherlands the peat in the soil oxidises due to it’s draining system. This results in an average soil subsidence of a few centimetres a year. The consequences are, an increasingly expensive and complicated water management, high costs for recovery and construction of infrastructure, and greenhouse gas emissions.

This regional design facilitates the innovative solution of large-scale implementation of submerged drains that reduces the rate of soil subsidence significantly. Submerged drains are pipes that are implemented within the ground that prevent peat oxidation by infiltrating the water deeper into the plots. However, land with submerged drains increases the dependency on the rivers for water resulting in water troubles in wet periods and an increasing water demand in dry periods.

The construction of a reservoir canal enables a large-scale implementation of submerged drains. It stores water that can be provided in dry periods thereby making the polders more responsive to increasing water troubles or demand. In addition, this reservoir canal, that is designed as a boating world and is embedded within the historical pattern of peat dikes, offers many opportunities for recreation and nature development. Opportunities that this design can provide for inhabitants of the surrounding urban area are shown in the design of a summer camp. This project provides as a tool for communication within the discussion about the future of this historical landscape and shows what role landscape architecture can play within this discussion.