Waterloopbos and Deltawerk//

1st Prize: “Protection or Development of a Cultural Landscape”

Waterloopbos (Marknesse, The Netherlands)

In 1951, Waterloopbos was created as a new forest in an area with natural water streams. For 40 years, it was the home of the Hydraulic Science Laboratory. In 35 large scale models of estuaries and ports, such as the Delta Works and the port of Rotterdam, tests were carried out to predict the influence of hydraulic works on the water, the landscape and the territory. Digital models made such tests obsolete in the 1990s. Nature took over and Waterloopbos is national monument managed by Natuurmonumenten now.

RAAAF and Atelier de Lyon have turned the biggest of these constructions, the massive Delta Gully, into the artwork Deltawerk//. The concrete structure, once in a strict line, is now broken. Concrete panels are cut from the sides, rotated and tilted. This offers a magical experience of light and dark, with views on the surrounding nature peeking through.

Nature now becomes a strategy for dealing with the cultural history of the place. 5,000 sqm of concrete top layer is sandblasted to encourage moss and lichen growth. In the coming decades Deltawerk// will become a green monument where art, nature and engineering come together.

The architectural intervention literally opened the forest for the public. The engineers that used to work in the laboratory are now guiding tours through the forest.

Laudation by Jacob Fischer (LYTT Architecture)

(Image: Natuurmonumenten; Martyn Hamer)