In a radical way this intervention sheds new light on the Dutch policy on cultural heritage. At the same, it makes people look at their surroundings in a new way. The project lays bare two secrets of the New Dutch Waterline (NDW), a military line of defence in use from 1815 until 1940 protecting the cities of Muiden, Utrecht, Vreeswijk and Gorinchem by means of intentional flooding.
The New Dutch Waterline, a former defence line in the Netherlands, has potential for contemporary functions. Bunker 599 is a pilot project to reveal the qualities of this military landscape and to make it publically accessible.
A seemingly indestructible bunker with monumental status is sliced open. The design thereby opens up the minuscule interior of one of NDW’s 700 bunkers, the insides of which are normally cut off from view completely. In addition, a long wooden boardwalk cuts through the extremely heavy construction. It leads visitors to a flooded area and to the footpaths of the adjacent natural reserve. The pier and the piles supporting it remind them that the water surrounding them is not caused by e.g. the removal of sand but rather is a shallow water plain characteristic of the inundations in times of war.
The sliced up bunker forms a publicly accessible attraction for visitors of the NDW. It is moreover visible from the A2 highway and can thus also be seen by tens of thousands of passers-by each day. The project is part of the overall strategy of RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon to make this unique part of Dutch history accessible and tangible for a wide variety of visitors. Paradoxically, after the intervention Bunker 599 became a Dutch national monument.
- Client: Municipality Culemborg | DLG (The Dutch Service for Land and Water Management)
- Design: RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon
- Movie: Roberto Rizzo
- Location: Diefdijk 5 - Highway A2
- Status: completion 2010
- Awards: Dutch Design Award 2011, Architectural Review Award 2013
- Photography: Allard Bovenberg
- Video: Roberto Rizzo
RAAAF operates at the crossroads of architecture, art and science. The studio started in 2006. RAAAF makes location- and context specific work and has developed the design approach of ‘strategic interventions’ , which derives from the respective backgrounds of the founding partners: Prix de Rome Architecture laureate Ronald Rietveld and philosopher Erik Rietveld. Together with architect Arna Mackic they form the core design team. Through a unique working method based on multidisciplinary research with scientists and other specialists, RAAAF’s real-life thinking models link local qualities with long-term strategies.
For RAAAF every project is a manifesto in itself. Our interventions are the result of an independent attitude and research agenda, starting from our own fascinations while confronting them with urgent societal issues. What interests us is what the world would be like if we were free of conventional limits. What could be new thinking models if we lived by a different set of rules. Showing these visions is the aim of each project.