Icoon Afsluitdijk by Daan Roosegaarde launched as model of Dutch innovation

As part of contracting consortium TTB (Track Line/Triflex/Burdie), Track Line has played a major part in the realisation of one of the components for the design innovation project “Icoon Afsluitdijk (Iconic Afsluitdijk)”, conceived by designer Daan Roosegaarde. The Gates of Light project was successfully completed in a professionally executed close collaboration effort by all the parties involved. We can look back with pride and satisfaction on the Gates of Light innovation project which uses 60 massive sluice gate hoist towers to emphasise the iconic value of the Afsluitdijk, the 32-mile long dam separating the IJsselmeer from the North Sea.

“Icoon Afsluitdijk”, the design innovation programme executed by designer and innovator Daan Roosegaarde and his team of experts, has now been officially launched. In the presence of Michèle Blom, Director-General of the Department of Public Works, the programme was given the green light on 16 November 2017. The Afsluitdijk, completed in 1932 and constructed using mostly manual labour, is one of the world’s unique environments. After 85 years of intensive use the time had come for a large-scale overhaul. Commissioned by the Dutch government, “Icoon Afsluitdijk” by designer Daan Roosegaarde helps to emphasise the iconic importance of the Afsluitdijk. As from today, all the projects of “Icoon Afsluitdijk” are open to the public free of charge after sunset. Windvogel (Wind Bird) and Glowing Nature will be on view until 21 January 2018; Gates of Light will remain on permanent view.

Michèle Blom: “The Afsluitdijk is a national symbol of the way the Dutch manage water, in days gone by, today, and in the future. The designs by Daan Roosegaarde underline the value of the Afsluitdijk as both a national and international showpiece of Dutch hydraulic engineering skills, innovative powers and original design. I can highly recommend a visit to experience this very special place.”

Daan Roosegaarde: “The Afsluitdijk represents Dutch guts and genius. We live surrounded by water, we fight it on a daily basis, we are constantly searching for new ways to live in harmony with nature. The Afsluitdijk is the Madonna of our struggle. By adding a subtle layer of light and interaction we reinforce the beauty of the dam and create new links between man and landscape, darkness and light, poetry and practice. A 32-kilometre Zen line that cuts through the water is a unique sight that should be experienced by as many people as possible.”

The projects of Icoon Afsluitdijk

“A people that lives, builds to safeguard its future.” These are the words inscribed in the Afsluitdijk Monument designed by Willem Dudok and erected in 1932. At the time the text typified the monumental achievements of a small country. Today the text forms a source of inspiration for Roosegaarde. The three designs that make up Icoon Afsluitdijk represent the power of nature as a source of energy and light and give an impression of a future green landscape.

Gates of Light
A new, futuristic entrance to the Afsluitdijk, Gates of Light reduces the 60 towering sluice gate hoist buildings dating from 1932 to their essence. The buildings have been extensively restored. At night the original design by architect Dirk Roosenburg, a grandfather of architect Rem Koolhaas, takes on a new perspective when illuminated by the headlamps of passing cars. The light from the headlamps is reflected by small prisms that make the familiar contours of the buildings light up in the darkness. No cars means no light, so this way of using light does not waste power and reduces light pollution. The inspiration for working with retroflection resulted from an analysis of the way light is reflected by butterfly wings. The design has resulted in a dynamic entrance created by an architectural composition of luminous lines that make the gate complexes appear to float in space, with motorists passing between them like space travellers in a science fiction movie. Gates of Light presents a concrete example of a future energy-neutral landscape in line with the government policy to ensure that all major roads in the Netherlands will be energy-neutral by 2030.

Windvogel:
Smart kites with specially designed luminous lines that can generate up to 100 kW, enough to power 200 households. The project is a tribute to Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels, who died in 2014. It was his idea to anchor power-generating kites on the Afsluitdijk. Roosegaarde now makes the dream come true with a combination of usefulness and poetic presentation. In collaboration with a team of designers and engineers, a smart kite was developed that can stay aloft for extended periods and will position itself to take full advantage of the wind’s power. The pull of the wind extends and reduces the length of line holding the kite, and this motion is converted into electric power which is then stored in a base station. Roosegaarde designed the kite line to use specially developed light-emitting glass fibres that are both light and strong. Windvogel is being tested as a concrete example of green energy production on the Afsluitdijk, where the kite lines create a unique spectacle of luminous lines stretching upwards against the night sky from the horizontal line that is the Afsluitdijk.

Glowing Nature:
Glowing Nature reveals the beauty of the natural world of the Afsluitdijk by means of a unique encounter between man, biology and technology. The exclusive presentation, set up in a historic pillbox at the Kornwerderzand end of the Afsluitdijk, consists of an interactive and mystical experience using luminous algae, one of the oldest forms of life to be found on our planet. The single-celled algae need to be kept under perfect conditions to ensure that they luminesce naturally and long enough when touched. Algae are a building block of our circular economy. This is one way in which nature teaches us how to find new future solutions to generate power and the light we need to illuminate our environment.

Exhibition

All the designs are open to the public free of charge and can be viewed on the Afsluitdijk after sunset. The Glowing Nature and Windvogel displays are subject to weather conditions, so before you set out, please check www.icoonafsluitdijk.nl for the latest updates. The exhibition includes showings of the video ‘32 km’ by Felix Kops about the development of the concepts. A special podcast highlighting the rich context of the project is available from www.icoonafsluitdijk.nl.

About Daan Roosegaarde

Designer and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is internationally acclaimed for his innovative vision and interactive projects that combine human interaction, technology and space in order to create a better world. Virtual floods, smart motorways and smog-free towers; Roosegaarde and his team liberate technology from the constraints of the digital domain to research and activate solutions for improving daily life in the urban environment.

Icoon Afsluitdijk is a collaboration between Studio Roosegaarde and Rijkswaterstaat and is supported by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and The New Afsluitdijk.

Development Partners:
Kitepower, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), TTB, Eurocarbon, Versalume, BioPop

For more information, see www.studioroosegaarde.net and www.deafsluitdijk.nl