Frank Vonk

Frank Vonk

Course
Landscape Architecture
Class
2017

Tidal docks - Space for estuary in Antwerp

In the last decades the harbor in the city of Antwerp dramatically expended. The result was the ruination of natural systems between city, landscape and river. The river Schelde was heavely canalised along and threw the city. A landscape of quays and constructions was the result. The continuous upscaling of harbor resulted also in vacant docks which were not appropriate handeling big ships and freightactivities in the city. What is left is the monument of the quays at the old docks of Antwerp. The city of Antwerp proposes the activation of this old harbor area in to a floating city in order to urbanise the space again. Tidal Docks makes statement: nature first!

Watermachine
The idea is to transform the docks into a tidal landscape wich can be experienced by the residents of Antwerp. The system of docks is perceived as a water machine that handles different flows of water. The motor of the watermachine is the difference in tide. The unique quality of a 5 metres tide difference is used to connect the old brooksystem of the Schijn with the Schelde. At high tide the river enters the docks, at low tide river withdraws and the brook flows into the river. The river leaves sediment in the docks, which creates mudflats and salt marshes. The existing quays frame the watermachine.

Each dock a function
The intervention provides space for the river and creates a complete new landscape in the city. The quality of the water increases because it will refresh twice a day. Each dock has it’s own function in the water machine. For instance, Kempisch dock purifies residual water from purification plants. Asia dock incorporates willowbank to increase biodiversity and green space in the city. Houtdock collects all the water. The function of each dock has also recreation potential. For me it was important that one could experience this new landscape. I combined the purification dock with swimming dock. The willowbanks creates a canoe paradise. Instead of many natural reservation areas along the river Schelde, this one will be accessible.

The result
Instead of a desolated harbour area, the old docks transform into attractive landscape. A landscape that host a sustainable water system that can deal with extreme weather and improves the biodiversity in the city. It closes the future park structure of the Groene singel around the city centre of Antwerp. And creates distance towards the harbor.

Commission members: Cees van der Veeken (mentor), Evert de Baere, Kristian Koreman. Additional members for the exam: Marie-Laure Hoedemakers, Jana Crepon.

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