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Water Works, ecologies of entanglement

The Embassy of Water and International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) are joining forces and organising a special water event on Friday 24 March, parallel to the UN Water Conference in New York. Come together with inspiring speakers and each other to give a firm shape to a new design attitude in co-creation with water.

Type event Conference
Date & Time

24 Mar 2023 - 09:30 - 16:30

Location OASE
Schiehaven 15a
3024 EC Rotterdam
Water Works, ecologies of entanglement

We face enormous water challenges in the Netherlands. The current reflex is to think that we should face these tasks from technocratic, rational design solutions as we have done for centuries. However, the changes that are needed are fundamental and systemic, affect socio-cultural, economic and political areas, and of course have all kinds of spatial implications. In doing so, control is impossible; after all, it’s all about cohesion and certainly when it comes to our intertwined relationship with water. National programmes like Mooi Nederland and the ‘water and soil guiding’ design principle herald a new era. A time that calls for a changing attitude towards the non-human, to listen and ask different questions, a time to arrive at more integral and regenerative design solutions.

These shifts are already underway. Everywhere we see examples of a more life-centred design attitude, a different way of area development. It also requires different rights and a process of socio-cultural change. How do we restore our relationship with water, give water a voice and ensure that our designs have a net positive impact on water ecosystems? How do we translate new insights into practice, bring others on board and embed the voice of water within landscape and (inner) urban structures?

The power of design, imagination and design research are indispensable in addressing, visualising and constructively contributing to these challenges. We all have a guiding role in this, all different perspectives are important, of value. We look forward to a day full of inspiration and movement!

Water Works, ecologies of entanglement, is moderated by Marsha Simon.

Morning programme

09.30 – 10.00 Walk-in, with the film Drought in the Delta by Studio Marco Vermeulen
10.00 – 10.10 Welcome by Anouk van der Poll (Embassy of Water) and Saskia van Stein (IABR)
10.10 – 10.45 Table discussion with Floris Alkemade, architect and former Chief Government Architect, and Anne van Kuijk, Environmental Quality Advisor for the Province of North Brabant. Based on the result of the IABR Brabantstad Atelier 2014, represented in a large woven tapestry in the hall of the Provinciehuis (Den Bosch), the implications of water and soil are discussed.
10.45 – 11.00 Intermezzo
11.00 – 11.15 Short break
11.20 – 12.10 Fransje Hooimeijer – Associate Professor Environmental Technology & Design at TU Delft Researchers, urban planners, landscape architects and engineers created innovative designs for 5 regions in the Netherlands as part of the Redesigning Deltas movement. Co-initiator Fransje Hooimeijer discusses the ideas and their impact.
12.10 – 12.30 Group discussion


12.30 – 13.00 Vegetarian lunch

Afternoon programme

13.10 – 13.20 Arita Baaijens – writer, explorer and biologist. Arita explores our bossy relationship with nature. She developed deep mapping as a method to also give landscape and water a voice in spatial tasks.
13.20 – 13.30 Anne van Strien – deep designer. Anne talks about the results of a number of in-depth ‘water dialogues’ she organised together with Waterschap De Dommel at the Embassy of Water.
13.30 – 13.40 Phebe Kloos – anthropologist, specialism human-water relationship, working at the water board. How do you give water a voice? Phebe made this exploration with hydrologists-to-be: students studying water management at Van Hall Larenstein and Wageningen University & Research.
13.40 – 14.40 Workshop Voice of Water, led by Arita Baaijens, Anne van Strien and Phebe Kloos. Arita, Anne and Phebe will take you outside to the water. Here we will experiment with each other on how to relate to water, and how to give water a voice. Then we will translate our insights into hands-on practice. We will design for water.
14.40 – 14.50 Short break
15.00 – 16.00 Inspiration session by Dirk van Peijpe, urban planner and founder of De Urbanisten. De Urbanisten are known worldwide for their water-positive projects, which contribute to a resilient and attractive city.
16.00 – 16.30 Group discussion and conclusion
16.30 – 17.30 Drinks

You can register for part of the day or for the whole day.

Practical information

– Date & time: Friday 24 March, 09:30 – 16:30.
– Location: OASE, Schiehaven 15a, 3024 EC Rotterdam
–> Public transport: take the metro to Delfshaven or Coolhaven, tram 8 to Schiemond or the water taxi to Schiemond (75).
–> Car and parking: there are a small number of parking spaces near OASE. Nearby you will find parking garage Q-park Schiecentrale.
– The programme is in Dutch
– Due to single-glass windows it may be a bit chilly, please wear something warm!
– You can pass on your dietary requirements through the registration link

Water Works, ecologies of entanglement is made possible by the municipality of Rotterdam, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the province of Noord-Brabant, the municipality of Eindhoven, Waterschap De Dommel, drinking water company Brabant Water and Dutch Design Foundation.



Schiehaven 15a
3024 EC Rotterdam

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