Bo Martens

Bo Martens

Building with water. Uhasselt (Belgium)

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UHasselt_1s_Martens Bo_photo.jpg

We live in a world designed in a time sustainability wasn't a question. Since this changed, we need to design differently. Architecture is no exception. Through my project, I propose a building shift to sustainable materials.

Wetlands are a solution to control floods and droughts because they work as natural sponges. Given the increasing climate problems, we must protect them. In the current agriculture-system, large areas are being drained to grow traditional crops. Therefore, the water layer is removed, resulting in CO2 emissions. By learning how to use and preserve these water-rich areas, we can benefit from it.

Within my project ‘Building with water’, the wetlands are used to cultivate a plant called Typha. This plant is used to produce building materials. The Typha-based building material can achieve similar capacities as traditional materials, but without negative impact on climate.

The project is located at the Bokrijk train stop and proposes the building of a multifunctional station. Bokrijk is a place where visitors can rediscover age-old traditions and craftsmanship of the region. The Typha harvest is also part of the region’s tradition and would therefore be an ideal opportunity to be added to Bokrijk's current cultural program.

The multifunctional station is inspired by the old farmer's train where products were cultivated near train tracks and directly transported from there. In my project, this is translated by linking the train station to the production of Typha building materials. This new typology, the 'productive station’, would be part of a larger network in which products can be transported in a climate-friendly manner.

Building a station using Typha-based materials serves as a prototype to demonstrate the building shift's potential for sustainable architecture.






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