Because of climate change, Rotterdam is increasingly facing threats like exceptional floods caused by sea level rise and heavy rainfalls. Many projects about climate change mitigation have been developed in the last decades resulting in the implementation of a series of policies, strategies, and spatial measures that are enhancing the resilience of the city. However, most of the recent spatial interventions are dealing with the construction of new developments. Several neighborhoods of Rotterdam are characterized by typical housing units and fabrics of the beginning of the 20th century and many iconic commercial and housing complexes have been constructed immediately after the Second World War. These buildings are confronted with a dilemma of rebuilding or retrofitting to adapt to climate change in the long run.
This project aims to pioneer the investigation of spatial alternatives to the demolitions of historical buildings being able to deal with climate change. The question is “how the integrated design activity among architects, urbanists, social scientists and engineers can envision spatial solutions to adapt existing structures in the light of recent climate projections of future flooding caused by extreme rainfall and sea level rise?”
The paradigm of ‘living with water’ constructs the theoretical background of the project; it is instrumentally used as a given future condition in which elaborate analyses, visions, designs and evaluations of performance for existing structures. The development of the project is meant to be executed on a series of selected buildings at the scale of the street in the hypothesis that these structures can deal with water without the new construction of hard engineering interventions of coastal protection and riverine embankment.
Starting from the current conditions of the buildings, a series of spatial visions and measures are designed in stages to accommodate and even benefit from the future dynamism of water levels. Starting from the 2100, we work backwards at the present to identify and design which spatial and technical interventions are gradually needed to equip buildings to be able to cope with future climate.
The project is developed in close cooperation among researchers and supervisors from the faculties of Architecture and the built environment, Civil engineering and geoscience of TU Delft and the Institute for housing development of the Erasmus University.
The project is funded by the Resilient Delta initiative and organized within the context of the Delta Urbanism research group, the Delta Futures Lab, the section of Environmental Technology and Design of the department of Urbanism, TU Delft.
The project is coordinated by Luca Iuorio (Assist. prof. Urbanism, TU Delft) with Qian Ke (Specialist in Urban sustainability and CC resilience, IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Maria Pregnolato (Ass. prof. Hydraulic engineering, TU Delft).
The team of researchers and designers is composed of Amber Coppens, Emily Lenarduzzi, Ahmed Alsalhi (BK, TU Delft); Vera Safronova (IHS, Erasmus University); David Garagorri, Evi Troulis (CiTG, TU Delft).