IABR opens exhibition in Dordrecht


The final exhibition of DOWN TO EARTH, the 9th edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, opens on July 3 in the Biesboschhal in Dordrecht. THE HIGH GROUND, curated by chief curator George Brugmans, demonstrates how the city's number 1 priority, flood risk management, can be used as leverage for the Drechtsteden 2030 Growth Agenda and Dordrecht's sustainability ambitions.

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THE HIGH GROUND - Live on the Water - PosadMaxwan

drawing: Merel Corduwener for IABR–Atelier Dordrecht

Water safety as priority
Dordrecht is a not only a city, it’s also an island. Due to its location in a sea-river transit zone, the Island of Dordrecht is very vulnerable to flooding.
Today, 600 years after the legendary Saint Elizabeth’s Flood, Dordrecht is still vulnerable to flooding, which is why the City of Dordrecht is constantly working to improve its flood protection measures. Here, water safety has the highest possible priority.

Water safety as leverage
Located outside the dike, the high ground of district De Staart – currently an isolated area with many problems and few prospects – constitutes a safe haven: it can accommodate many evacuees in the event of a flood.
Over the past two years, the IABR–Atelier Dordrecht and its lead designer Adriaan Geuze (West 8) has investigated how the future need to realize mass accommodation for evacuees on De Staart at a moment’s notice in the event of a major flood can be deployed in the search for an answer to the current sustainable area development challenge: How can water safety be used as leverage?

The results of this investigation are presented in the exhibition THE HIGH GROUND, curated by DOWN TO EARTH Chief Curator George Brugmans.
These results clearly show that De Staart can play an unexpectedly important role in the realization of Dordrecht’s water safety agenda. If Dordrecht decides to go with the water-safety-as-leverage approach, this will create unexpected opportunities for the sustainable development of an attractive living and working area, including new forms of housing, water-safe facilities, innovative work concepts and a unique river-bound tidal park, all in harmony with nature and including new connections for slow traffic that can also serve as escape routes.

Hitting many pins with one ball
On De Staart, the City of Dordrecht can hit many pins with one ball: increase water safety while at the same time building housing and stimulating employment, optimizing connections in the city and region and increasing the quality of life and recreational opportunities for all inhabitants. Thanks to the water-safety-as-leverage approach, the Map of Opportunities of De Staart presented in THE HIGH GROUND reads like the chance in a lifetime to seriously contribute to the Growth Agenda Drechtsteden 2030 and the sustainability ambitions of Dordrecht.

For more info about THE HIGH GROUND, click here

Download the full press release at the bottom of this page