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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Waterkwekerij (Water Nursery), Alkmaar, Netherlands

Water plays a central role in Group A's sustainable development
Group A’s design for the ‘Waterkwekerij’ (Water Nursery) has been chosen as one of the nominees for the EURPA, the European Urban and Regional Planning award 2008. The ‘Waterkwekerij’, a proposed urban developement in Alkmaar, is characterized by a high-intensity building program and extensive public park and water areas. The new development will be located on the former wastewater treatment plant in Alkmaar, which will be replaced by a new membrane bio reactor (MBR). Thanks to new technologies, these MBR plants are now smaller and can be placed underground for most part. The MBR, situated in the southern part of the site will be covered by a public waterpark. The northern part comprises offices and a mix of 500 residential units in apartment buildings and individual houses. A commercial and cultural program will be part of this development. The whole project will be constructed according to strict sustainable principles, such as heat recovery from waste water. Water retains its central role with the clean water leaving the MBR, being revitalised to flow around the newly created island. The former sludge depositions will be submerged in water. The island, with its floating houses moored around it, will be made accessible through a natural system of dykes.

Group A’s design is one of the three schemes that have been selected for the EURPA by the BNSP, the Dutch association of Spatial Planners. Sustainability, an exemplary role, innovation, participation and transformation were key issues for the jury. The three shortlisted projects will represent the Netherlands in a European competition that is issued every two years by the European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP). The three nominees will be submitted to an international jury, who will choose an overall winner from all the European nominees this coming autumn.

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