A circular forest for Nagele  ©2017
Status: competitie
Client: Coöperatieve Vereniging Energiek Nagele 
Team: J.W. van Kuilenburg with Letizia Armentano, Valentina Battilocchi, Chiara Bertossi, Filippo Catttano, Agnese Giovagnoli, Paola Perazzo.


…surrounding an architectural minefield…

The local community of Nagele is looking for a more sustainable future of their little village.

Nagele settlement is an experiment originating from the 1950’s in which new urban layouts and new architectural typologies were being tested.

Renowned urban designers and architects were involved, like Gerrit Rietveld, Jaap Bakema, Mien Ruys and Aldo van Eyck.

This urban and architectural heritage is a quite sensitive issue.

Our hypothesis is that a transition of Nagele towards a sustainable future requires a format with adjustable cycles of water, biomass, energy, crop, labor, tourism, products, etc.

We deploy a forgotten parallel component of Nagele, the natural windscreen made of trees around the settlement, in order to avoid stepping into its ‘architectural minefield’.

The windscreen, a linear forest, is positioned between Nagele and its surrounding agricultural landscape.

We think it can absorb a number of programs in specific locations, like ‘switches’, where internal cycles touch external cycles of Flevoland, its surrounding region.

Al least ten spots in the forest will be cleared of trees.

These open spots, the switches, have their own specific position along the existing path and are oriented towards axes, streets and buildings of Nagele.

The switches are programmed with collective and/or individual plantations that feed the citizens of Nagele with vegetables and fruits.

Within the plantations additional specific programs take care of cyclic energy loops but also social sustainability loops and small scale tourism.

We expect the chain of switches will develop in due time, will stimulate social cohesion, trigger identity and deliver added values that citizens and guests will be proud of.

For the time being we came up with the following switches:

– An adventurous playground for primary school kids until 12 years. A domain where kids can go wild, where stacks of wood and ropes will be made into huts and towers. Water is dominant and challenges bridges and dams to be built by groups of kids.

– A hangout with a barn for youth until 25 years. The barn is a type of youth club that can also be rented for parties and for example workshops.

– A mini camping for tourists with reservations for eight tents (half labor place / 0,5 fte). Outside the camping season the little house with kitchen can be rented out as a guest house.

– A helophyte filter for water purification that is part of the canal. It can become a beautiful and natural place in the forest, including a pedestrian/cycling path to Schokland along the canal.

– A small scale co-operative geothermic plant that delivers hot water and electricity. A sustainable investment model for the long term. The warm water can make the deeper part of the helophyte filter into a natural swimming pool.

– A warm natural swimming pool with café (half labor place / 0,5 fte). The whole year, summer as well as winter, a steaming natural bath that is purified in a natural way.

– A small harbor for canoes, rowing boats and sloops (half labor place / 0,5 fte during summer). Via the Nagele Canal anyone can now access the IJssel Lake.

– A small scale co-operative bio digester that delivers electricity (half labor place / 0,5 fte). A sustainable investment model for the mid-long term. Biomass collected from surrounding farms will be digested here. The residue will fertilize the land by the same farmers.

– Extra open spots for further initiatives. Examples are a flower/butterfly garden with beehives, hobby locations, a drone field, sporting field, etc.

– An exception is the market place on the central square where crop from the plantations can be exchanged for other assets. Wood chips coming from maintenance of the forest cover the square plot that has a wooden shack with public toilet and storage space for twelve market stables and picnic tables.

The wood of the removed trees is reworked into facilities for the switches. The chopped trees are compensated by planting the same amount in the open spot near the canal on the business park.

All elements in this project are like dials that can be tuned to meet the most optimal synergetic situation for Nagele and its citizens.