September 1, 2009
by Jacqueline Pezzillo Assoc. AIA LEED AP

Event: HYBRID: Architecture and Planning Strategies for Renewable Cities
Location: Center for Architecture, 08.27.09
Speakers: Duzan Doepel — Principal, DSA-Doepel Strijkers Architects
Organizer: AIANY Global Dialogues Committee

As global warming continues to threaten urban communities, the Dutch are adapting their architectural and urban planning strategies to prevent crises threatening their cities. “We love to plan,” said Duzan Doepel, principal of Rotterdam-based Doepel Strijkers Architects. Climate-resistant architecture has become crucial to prevent the destruction of cities like Randstad, a flood-prone “edge city” with a population of 7.6 million. Architects and planners must re-think the way they design and build to avoid an environmental disaster.

Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and food shortages are all issues that The Netherlands is currently addressing with a blend of dynamic architecture and ecological solutions. The Dutch firm deUrbanisten has proposed rain water buffers, called “water squares,” comprised of absorbent surfaces for the collection and re-use of water. This technology would be integrated into public spaces, including parks.

The firm MVRDV has used The Netherlands, the chief exporter of pork in the European Union, as the subject of conceptual design proposals to establish biological pig farming methods in skyscrapers. By combining organic farming with concentrated production, there would be a reduction in animal disease and an opportunity to develop communal areas for feeding and slaughtering, thus reducing the enormous footprint required for present day pig farming.

Doepel helped create REAP (Rotterdam Energy Approach and Planning), targeting a return to 1990 levels of carbon dioxide emissions by 2025, and ultimately achieving energy neutrality through intelligent urban planning. REAP presents a building strategy that can be applied to neighborhoods, districts and cities. MVRDV states on its website, “We see the earth changing, we monitor its development, and we react.” Dutch designers and planners are proving this premise to be true.

Jacqueline Pezzillo, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, is the communications manager at Davis Brody Bond Aedas and a regular contributor to e-Oculus.

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