Architecture of Water

Eli Whitney Museum

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2018 Summer Program

Can the world manage the consequences of rising sea levels? Ask the Dutch. They have contended with sea levels for 2000 years. (Netherlands means lowlands.) Their answer: think long, think big, think community effort.

In 1953, a brutal storm overwhelmed their southern dikes and flooded 40 miles inland. Nearly 2,000 people were lost, 37,000 buildings were damaged, and10,000 buildings were demolished. The tiny nation responded with a bold plan. It would dramatically shorten its coastline and create the largest storm management system in the world. Their engineers reckoned the construction would take 50 years. They finished the work in 6 years early.

Join kindred, bold spirited engineers to create a 70 foot long model of Netherlands coastline. Construct key features of the Delta Works, the Dutch master plan. Cast the concrete pylons of the surge barrier. Join a team that will model the Mytilus, the Cardium, the Ostrea, the Macoma, the enormous work boats designed to prepare the site and to float the pylons into place. Build a tiny tug to help guide the work. Construct a portion of the port of Rotterdam, the largest in the world. Construct the Maeslant Barrier, the massive storm gate open to fishing and cargo ships, but ready to close off dangerous seas.

Construct a tiny model of a Rotterdam Canal House or a traditional farmhouse, the treasures and way of life the Delta Works were conceived to preserve. Shape and decorate a pair of wooden shoes...a reminder of this most modern nation’s devotion to its traditions.

With Nikita Twallhoven, guest engineer.

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