Strategies for embankment transition over the next 100 years

The adaptive embankment

  1. vision
  2. cooperating
  3. planning
  4. complexity
  5. complex processes
  6. development

In autumn 2015, the department of Research of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) launched the adaptive embankment study to explore the possibilities for the upcoming embankment reinforcements in the Netherlands. Research questions were: what could an embankment mean for an attractive, multifunctional, habitable, safe and climate-proof landscape? Can we shape the embankment and the landscape around it to become a customisable entity that can respond to changing safety and usage requirements? And can we think of spatial functions that can turn the embankment into a more diverse landscape element?

Dijk hoogwater
Dijk normaal


In addition to its function as a dam, the IJsseldijk between Deventer and Zwolle has a strong social significance. Hence, a new embankment must be able to meet both changing technical and spatial requirements as well as respond to changing social needs, insights and initiatives. The study did not only look at the necessary embankment reinforcements, but also investigated what spatial functions fit the embankment and what functions should be reduced. Also, different scale levels (from embankment road to embankment house) and different time periods (from short term to distant future) were examined and processed into future scenarios.

adaptieve dijk animatie

In the devised design and future vision, the new adaptive embankment is conceived of as part of a wide landscape zone. For this zone, a reinforcement strategy is provided in which sedimentation (sludge) is used to form new river dunes, thus strengthening the embankment. The result is a dynamic river landscape that welcomes recreation, environmental development and new forms of habitation.

A study commissioned by:

Royal Institute of Dutch Architects, Water board Rivierenland, Water board Vallei and Veluwe, Water board Groot Salland, Province of Gelderland, Province of Overijssel, Delta Ontwerpplatform of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture

A project in collabotation with NOHNIK and SWECO (formerly Grontmij)

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