On the Benthemsquare the worlds first water square will be realized. It took us almost seven years from the idea and concept, to typologies, to policy, to spatial design. Already well published as a concept, in 2011 we finally got to design and refine a real pilot on the Benthemsquare in Rotterdam.
In an intense trajectory with all parties around the place, we jointly conceived ideas about the square: students and teachers of the Zadkine college and the Graphic Lyceum; members of the adjacent church, youth theatre and David Lloyd gym; inhabitants of the Agniese neighborhood, all took part. In three workshops we discussed possible uses, desired atmospheres and how the storm water can influence the square. All agreed: the water square should be a dynamic place for young people, lots of space for play and lingering, but also nice, green intimate places. And what about the water? This had to be excitingly visible while running over the square: detours obligatory! The enthusiasm of the participants helped us to make a very positive design.
Three basins collect rain water: two undeep basins for the immediate surroundings will receive water whenever it rains, one deeper basin receives water only when it consistently keeps raining. Here the water is collected from the larger area around the square.
Rainwater that falls on the square runs via large stainless steel gutters over it, into the basins. When its dry, these places are fit for everybody on wheels and whoever wants to watch them doing their thing. The deep basin is a true sports pit, as well as a theatre to see and be seen.
All that can flood is painted in shades of blue. All that transports water is shiny stainless steel. The space is gently defined and subdivided by a green structure of high grasses, colorful flowers and the existing large trees. Our water square creates a new context for the great modern building of Maaskant and the fantastic giant artwork of Karel Appel.
Animation Watersquare – by studio Analoog
Interview Cineac TV – Dutch only
Graphic Novel – 010 Publishers
Watersquare principle – Background information