Architecture and heritage working together with physics and biology

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Icoon Afsluitdijk

Studio Roosegaarde, Gates of Light, 2017
Icoon Afsluitdijk

A 32-kilometre dike built by hand in 1932 protects the Netherlands from water. Now, after 85 years of intensive use, it has gone through a large-scale renovation. Icoon Afsluitdijk consists of one permanent intervention, Gates of Light, and two temporary installations, Windvogel  (Windbird) and Glowing Nature, commissioned by the Dutch Government and conceived by Daan Roosegaarde along with his team. The project aims to highlight the key functions of the construction, water protection, energy and mobility, raising the Afsluitdijk’s heritage and its recognition as a water engineering and design icon.

Studio Roosegaarde, Windvogel, 2017

The project kicked off in 2016 with Waterlicht, a poetic light installation evoking the role of the dike to protect the Netherlands from floods and Spiegelstenen, a tribute to the 5.000 workers who built the dike by hand in 5 years.

“I want to create experiences which you cannot download, places you want to see with your own eyes. By adding a subtle layer of light and interaction, we enhance the beauty of the dike and form new links between man and landscape, darkness and light, poetry and practice,” Dan Roosegarde declared.

Studio Roosegaarde, Gates of Light, 2017

Gates of Light is an intervention working with the sixty floodgate structures which were originally designed by Dirk Roosenburg, -Rem Koolhaas’s grandfather-. They have been fully restored and contoured with a retro-reflective layer, which enables the lines of the architecture to light up from the headlights of passing cars. The light is reflected through small prisms, hence no energy or electrical supply is required and no light pollution is produced as the structures only reflect the already existing light from the 20.000 cars that cross the dike every day.

Studio Roosegaarde, Windvogel, 2017

Windvogel was developed in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology and is a tribute to Dutch physicist and astronaut, Wubbo Ockels, achieving his dream to create energy- generating kites. The high floating kites generate energy from the wind ranging from 20 kW up to 100 kW. In addition to Ockels’ dream, Roosegaarde designed luminous cables for the kites which are connected to a ground station. The push and pull movements of the cables create a choreography of dancing lines whilst visualising the energy generated.

Studio Roosegaarde, Glowing Nature, 2017

Glowing Nature uses natural bioluminescent algae cultivated to give more light and to live longer. One of the oldest organisms of the planet, these micro-organisms have been used to produce an immersive installation located inside the historical bunker, dating from 1932 on the Friesland side of the dike. Visitors can interact directly with the algae which emit light when they move, resulting in an encounter between man, biology and technology, an interactive experience glowing upon the visitors steps and movements.

Windvogel and Glowing nature can be seen until the 21st January 2018, while Gates of Light will remain as a permanent installation.

Check the Icoon Afsluitdijk website for up-to-date information as there are limited time slots and weather conditions might affect visiting times.

Icoon Afsluitdijk - Studio Roosegaarde
Windvogel & Glowing Nature
Until 21.01.2018
Gates of Light
permanent installation

The Afsluitdijk, NL

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