Former Ship Wharf ‘Ceuvel Volharding’
The area of ‘Ceuvel Volharding’ is a former ship wharf in Amsterdam. An abandoned and polluted site in the industrial and harbour area of Buiksloterham, in the north of Amsterdam. A plot located at the water with a special history, near the city centre of Amsterdam. The real estate crisis of the past years provided opportunities for an alternative, less capital-intensive way of developing. The area does not remain abandoned. The site will be used as a breeding ground for creative entrepreneurs for the next ten years.
The starting point for the realization of the new creative hub ‘De Ceuvel’ is the pollution of soil and water. Current techniques that are used for purification of soil and water are costly, unsustainable and are often limited to hiding or moving the pollution to another site. The technique of phytoremediation, in which plants are used to stabilize, take-up or extract contamination from the soil, offers an alternative. On the site of ‘De Ceuvel’ this organic way of cleaning the soil results in a working landscape cleaning the soil and producing low-impact biomass. Former houseboats are put on land and transformed into 17 very sustainable ateliers, and after ten years, the site is returned to Amsterdam cleaner than we got it.
The purifying plants are specifically selected for this area; plants that suit the rugged nature of the industrial terrain of Buiksloterham. A raised wooden jetty, winding through the planting, ensures that there is no direct contact with the polluted soil. A layer which remained hidden in the landscape before, is revealed by the variety of plants. An alternative approach to pollution transforms the negative history of a place into a positive perspective.
Former Ship Wharf ‘CeuvelVolharding’
The area of ‘CeuvelVolharding’ is a former ship wharf in Amsterdam. An abandoned and polluted site in the industrial and harbour area of Buiksloterham, in the north of Amsterdam. A plot of about 4000m2 located at the water with a special history, near the city centre of Amsterdam. In an economically better time this place would be cleaned up mechanically and built upon. The current era, in which planned urban developments come to a halt and many areas await development, provides opportunities for an alternative, less capital intensive way of developing.
The area of ‘De Ceuvel’ does not remain abandoned. DELVA Landscape Architects was given the opportunity, by the Municipality of Amsterdam, to use the site as a breeding ground for creative entrepreneurs, for the next ten years. DELVA Landscape Architects has developed a plan for the area in close collaboration with the entrepreneurs that will be using it. The site will become a park that is much more than just a park. An innovative, multifunctional and creative hub.
The starting point for the realization of the new creative hub ‘De Ceuvel’ is the pollution of soil and water. By filling the area with polluted dredge and the polluting activities of the ship wharf the site is heavily polluted with organic as well as inorganic pollutants. Current techniques that are used for purification of soil and water are costly, unsustainable and are often limited to hiding or moving the pollution to another site. The technique of phytoremediation, in which plants are used to extract contamination from the soil, offers an alternative. On the site of ‘De Ceuvel’ this organic way of cleaning the soil will result in a working landscape cleaning the soil and producing low-impact biomass. After ten years, the entire site is returned to the municipality of Amsterdam cleaner than we got it.
Research on the purification and low-impact biomass production at ‘De Ceuvel’ is conducted by the University of Ghent (Belgium). ‘De Ceuvel’ will serve as a test site and pilot project for graduate and doctoral study programs. A ‘knowledge route’ through the area shows the results of these studies and informs visitors about the sustainable principles of the organic purification and low-impact biomass production at the park. ‘De Ceuvel’ will be a place where researchers, designers, residents, governments, businesses, farmers and students get together to define the future use of the area.
Because part of the site is heavily polluted with a mixture of organic and inorganic pollutants, the site will be densely planted with a mixture of purifying plants. An undulating ‘green sea’, matching the rugged character of the industrial and harbour area it is part of. The workplaces for entrepreneurs will be positioned in this zone of isolated nature. This cultivated wilderness is accessed by a winding boardwalk avoiding direct contact with the polluted soil.
When plants are pruned pollutants will be removed from the soil and low-impact biomass is harvested. By making the system of nature part of the design of the area we can go beyond the usual. Purification of soil and water, education, low-impact biomass production, innovation, research, ecology, art and culture come together in this new creative hub in Amsterdam.
The low-impact biomass that is generated from the area will be used to developed products and energy. A small low-impact biomass gasification plant will convert the biomass into energy and there are workshops and tours for residents and visitors to inform them about the purifying park. At ‘De Ceuvel’ the polluted soil is no longer the problem but it is the catalyst of innovative concepts and initiatives in the field of (cultural) sustainability.
Besides ‘De Ceuvel’ there are many abandoned and polluted areas in Amsterdam and its surroundings. Areas besides and between highways and railways, not built ecological corridors, and unused plots at industrial areas. Many of those waiting and functionless areas are polluted, often caused by industrial activities, waste dumping, agricultural activities and urbanization, making them unsuitable for several types of land-use.
We aim for ‘De Ceuvel’ to become the predecessor of a much bigger low-impact biomass production area, a new typology of landscape for Amsterdam and its surrounding area. The innovative way of soil cleaning and low-impact biomass production that is applied at ‘De Ceuvel’ can be an example to many other areas, to become a large scale network of ecologically, economically and socially interesting areas. ‘De Ceuvel’ can the beating heart of this new landscape of Amsterdam.