Ziega van den Berk

Doggerland, The Breeding Ground of the North Sea, 2020

We should consider the needs of all non-human lifeforms inhabiting our ecosystem in all our deliberations and decisions. Landscape architect Ziega van der Berk aims to put this notion into practice.


To achieve its climate targets, the Netherlands need to build a total of 15,000 wind turbines in the North Sea by 2050, of which 8000 on the Dogger Bank, a 300-kilometre-long sand bar between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. How will we do this? Van der Berk argues that we should not regard the sea as a blank slate but as a landscape with its own inhabitants, all of whom we should get to know. She mapped out the Dogger Bank’s subaquatic landscape and its residents: fauna ranging from algae, molluscs, and shellfish to squid, stingrays, and storm petrels. What do they do? What do they want? What does their day look like? The needs of all these creatures may vary, but one way or another they all require hard substrate, such as rocks and oyster reefs, to survive, because their food lives on or in it, or because they themselves use it as a home or a hiding place. Owing to bottom trawling and gravel and sand extraction, this substrate has almost completely disappeared, and the North Sea floor has largely become a barren desert.


Van den Berk incorporated the interests of the Dogger Bank’s residents in her design for a new type of wind farm. The objective of stimulating the growth of a rich and diverse underwater habitat determines the size of the windmills’ bases and the locations for their phased placement on the Dogger Bank. Already in their current form, windmill farm foundations can fulfil the function of hard substrate. Van den Berk proposes expanding this quality by turning the sand bar into an artificial reef, alternately excavating holes and raising hills, and creating an accidented surface which, when covered by a hard layer of composite, can support the windmills as well as marine wildlife. After depreciation of the windmills, this rugged underwater landscape remains as the beginning of a subaquatic nature reserve that contributes to the recovery of the North Sea ecosystem.

 

Ziega van den Berk (1987, The Netherlands) is a landscape architect and spatial designer based in Amsterdam. She has a strong interest in social and ecological issues and is committed to creating a just and liveable environment for people, plants, and animals. Since 2013, she has worked as a public space designer and landscape architect at MUST Urbanism on a range of assignments across all scale levels in the city, countryside, and seascape. In 2021, Van den Berk graduated cum laude from the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam with her project Doggerland, The Breeding Ground of the North Sea, which was awarded the Archiprix 2021. As a follow-up, she is collaborating with The Embassy of the North Sea on the development of radical design proposals for the tender ‘Hollandse Kust West’, a projected zone for offshore wind farming.


www.ambassadevandenoordzee.nl

Ziega van den Berk 

Doggerland, The Breeding Ground of the North Sea, 2020