Elke Rutten

Elke Rutten

Revival of the fittest. UHasselt (Belgium)

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In-between Hasselt and Genk, we find an assembly of ponds that exist through the embankments of the Stiemerbeek. They form the natural framework of this hydro-landscape. The primary activities like agriculture and nature-preservation had to make room for a new kind of industry. Large infrastructural interventions like the Albert Canal and the N702, form a scattered landscape. So, in the current urban fabric
the canal is a huge chunk of water between ‘the Maten’ and pieces of scattered landscape at the outskirts of the urban fabric of Diepenbeek. Here, I want to go for a revival of the former industry with an acupunctural implementation of a productive landscape. Due to the diminishing numbers of fish on our planet, the increasing population, the ecological impact of transport and the lack of local production, we need to look into a more sustainable source of production that would put less stress on the current ecosystem. And no matter what Donald Trump says, climate change is definitely real. In the near future there is expected to be more cases of extreme weather. The area is sensitive to flooding, the water is in a constant search for a state of balance. Here, Aquaculture comes to call. The water is used in a concept of permanent flow, it will be used throughout the system. This by using herbivore fish, hydroelectricity and re-using the waste products the system is a constant cycle. Not only the journey of the fish is present, it is a place to find rest. The spaces can give a place of covering, it generates a place to escape. The building itself manifests as a collective series of portraits, different silhouettes. So the re-developing of the peri-urbane space with productive landscape as urban backbone changes an endpoint into a start.

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