Under Water City Proposed for Amsterdam


Images credit Zwarts & Jansma

It seems a bit counter-intuitive; we are used to seeing Dutch floating projects, not buried ones. Architect Moshé Zwarts says ""There has always been a lack of space in the city, so what we are doing is building a city under the city by using a new construction technique, which will not interfere with street traffic."- by draining and then building under the canals.

And what does he propose filling it with? Parking, shopping and "leisure".
Images credit Zwarts & Jansma

The engineers say it is doable. "It is both feasible and sustainable, creating a city beneath the city is not futuristic, it is a necessity in this day and age." Zwarts says the geology is great for this. "Amsterdam sits on a 30-metre layer of waterproof clay which will be used together with concrete and sand to make new walls. Once we have resealed the canal floor, we will be able to carry on working underneath while pouring water back into the canals. It's an easy technique and it doesn't create issues with drilling noises on the streets."

The architects make the case that the project is very green:

AMFORA is CO2-neutral. Heat pumps provide the energy for heating and cooling. Excess energy could be used for temperature control in the buildings aboveground. Moreover, the Amsterdam air will improve: exhaust fumes will be filtered using state-of-the-art technology, particulate matter and other harmful substances will therefore no longer reach the atmosphere.


Click on image to enlarge

In some ways the notion is quite clever; one can work under the canals without seriously disrupting life on the land. But we might question whether one should be digging up Amsterdam for parking and shopping, and they might have added public transit and bike lanes to keep us happy. Michael Hammond of World Architecture News has his doubts too:

"This scheme and its underlying drivers, fly in the face of every responsible principle of sustainability and current trends. The architects also claim that the proposal is CO2 neutral but when questioned by WAN, Professor Zwarts acknowledged that his calculations omitted the carbon generated by construction, which in a mammoth scheme like would take many decades to recoup, if ever.....That this project is technically achievable is not in doubt, but that does not justify its flawed concept."

::World Architecture News

More at the architects website, Zwarts & Jansma

Tags: Netherlands