Exploring the underground

Sigirino Depot, Atelier Girot, Switzerland. Image: Atelier Girot
Sigirino Depot, Atelier Girot, Switzerland. Image: Atelier Girot
    • from May 29 to August 24, 2014
    • Kunsthal
    • Westzeedijk 341, Rotterdam

Discovering, reassessing, and planning the unknown world beneath our feet. The underground is the source of natural resources, provides storage space and is the archive of humanity’s cultural history and of the earth itself.

The increased interest in designing with an eye for natural processes has led to a new perspective on the Underground. Soil, subsurface soil processes, and deep substrata perform numerous functions that are indispensable to urban society, yet they are also the least studied ecosystem on the planet.

Underground waterstorage (OWB), Museumpark, Rotterdam. Photo: Jannes Linders

Dirk Sijmons, curator Urban by Nature: "The city has expanded upward and sideward, and now the underground is its New Frontier. The close connection between the lack of surface space and underground events is becoming increasingly clear. Three-dimensional planning is necessary: not only to bring inconvenient functions underground or to attune interventions, but first and foremost to promote the underground awareness of builders. Fostering the substrate’s value to society is a vital link in any sustainable urban strategy. Like in many other regions of the world, Dutch authorities together with Dutch industry, experts and NGOs are formulating their policy for the underground territory."