Type Mixed-Use Complex & Landscape
Location Scheveningen | The Netherlands
Size 10.700 sqm (12.400 sqm site)
Stage MSc Thesis
Date SS 2012

Intro The projects overarching theme is to illustrate the blurring transition of natural and artificial environments. More precisely a concrete proposal for a housing project located at the old harbor in Scheveningen / The Hague was developed which features the event of flood and high tide levels as a beneficial spatial quality. Furthermore, the selection of contextual “natural” elements on site expanded to encompass prevailing winds and solar exposure. During the design process these contextual site properties among others were analyzed and computationally articulated the structure, facade geometry and materialization of the intervention.

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Research The first phase of research was dominated by the group work approach. In order to gather a comprehensive set of data analyzing the graduation site in Scheveningen, a domain-specific research method was developed and evaluated through a cross referencing probe method. Consequently, the individual graduation students gathered information which was gathered and visualized appropriately to identify trends and developments in the character of Scheveningen. Additional investigations in dominating landmarks completed the first investigation towards a site identity.

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Theory First coined by ecologist Eugene Stoermer and popularized by atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen the geological term Anthropocene elevates the human being on the level of a geological vector. Due to our influence on climate, appearance and metabolism of our planet it remains hard to identify the start of that era. As a matter of fact we never became aware of our omnipotence in transforming the environment. However, the traditional definition of nature as well-balanced ecosystem irritated by human agency appears superseded since nature itself grounds on chain reactions of interrelated chaotic processes.

This antiquated dichotomy which dominates the definition of ourselves, the human character as self-reflective conscious entity, structured the agenda throughout all architectural epochs. Furthermore, our desire to control and master the environment reached climax during the modern movement and its totalitarian definition of space. Learning and recovering from the mistakes of the past, architectural and urban planning started loosening the grip on determined top-down principles and redefines the natural and the artificial as one integrated ecosystem.

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Design Contextual conditions informed the design morphology on differing scales. Besides social-cultural dynamics proliferated in the urban fabric, quantifiable data such as tidal, wind and solar were taken in consideration specifically. While urban program and revitalization strategies informed the main dimensions, wind infused mainly volumetric optimization. Through CFD analysis an iterative refinement was geared towards increasing public space quality and beneficial pressure zones for natural ventilation.

Tidal dynamics became the main influence on articulating the landscape. Besides programmatic objectives of a public destination, a topographic catalogue was developed which featured semiotic, infrastructural and energetic specifications. A structural programmatic strategy was developed in an early stage to embed the two main functions – housing and office units – with respecting their individual demands on circulation, supply and privacy.

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Computation Based on differing preferences in lighting and thermal comfort, articulation rules for the façades in different tilt angles or offsets were associated in the parametric model. Moreover, the final arrangement of units was left to the generative principle, since the objective space was composed of three main targets: solar comfort, program ratio & diverse distribution. For evaluation a multi-objective evolutionary search algorithm was employed and tested. The Grasshopper component was programmed by MSc I. Chatzikonstantinou & Dr. M. S. Bittermann at the Chair of Design Informatics (TO&I) of TU Delft.

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