Between the Waters by Ooze and Marjetica Potrc

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Rotterdam and Paris architects Ooze have collaborated with artist Marjetica Potrc to create a community garden and water treatment plant on an island in Essen, Germany.

Top photo is © Ooze
Above photo is © Roman Mensing

Called Between the Waters, the project collects rainwater, waste water, and water from the adjacent Emscher Rivert and Rhine-Herne Canal.

Above photo is © Roman Mensing

The water is processed and cleaned in a visible installation, educating visitors about the processes that normally take place out of sight.

Above photo is © Florian de Visser

A walk through the community garden culminates in this water processing installation and a platform over the river to view the state of the waterways.

Above photo is © Roman Mensing

The installation opens this weekend as part of The Emscherkunst 2010 event, which continues until September.

Above photo is © Roman Mensing

Here's some more information from Ooze:


Between the Waters: The Emscher Community Garden

The project Between the Waters: The Emscher Community Garden is located at one of the narrowest points on Emscher Island, between the Emscher River and the Rhine-Herne Canal.

Above photo is © Roman Mensing

The walk through the project starts next to the Rhine-Herne Canal, with visitors entering the Community Garden; it then leads uphill beside the fully exposed water supply and treatment installation. The walk ends on an elevated platform above the Emscher River dyke.

Above photo is © Roman Mensing

Here visitors can view the challenging topography of the landscape and see for themselves how the highly polluted (and for this reason fenced-off) Emscher River is elevated above the nearby towns, which have sunk as a result of mining activity in the previous century.

Above photo is © Roman Mensing

Looking down the slope towards the Rhine-Herne Canal, they have a clear view of the complex water processing installation, which works with the water on the site between the two waterways. The project is a complete and sustainable water-supply system. It uses only water from the immediate area: the Emscher River, the Rhine-Herne Canal, rainwater and waste water.

Above photo is © Roman Mensing

The main elements of the water supply and treatment installation are two toilets located above the Emscher River, a pump that draws water from the river into a septic tank, a constructed wetland (a helophyte filter), a rainwater-harvesting roof, water storage bags (“pillow tanks”), and a fountain located above the Rhine-Herne Canal that offers visitors water of drinkable quality.

Above photo is © Ooze

In addition, the system provides water for irrigating the Community Garden. The project teaches visitors about the various stages of the water supply system – usually hidden underground in their everyday environment – and engages them in such issues as the conservation, treatment and use of water.

Above photo is © Ooze

Between the Waters: The Emscher Community Garden shows it is possible to reclaim and restore the natural habitat by using low-tech processes to construct a high-tech system. Although designed for this particular site, this is a mobile system that can be replicated in other localities.

Above photo is © Ooze

Equally important, through the Community Garden the project demonstrates the importance of local residents’ involvement with sustainable practices relating to water, including water conservation and local food production. The project underscores nature’s ability to restore itself and the power of local communities to make this happen.

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Above sketch is © Potrc

PROJECT: Art installation - Autonomous water treatment system & community gardens
LOCATION: Essen - D
AREAS: 1000 m2

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CLIENT: Emschergenossenschaft
TEAM: Marjetica Potrè, Eva Pfannes - Ooze, Sylvain Hartenberg - Ooze, Florian De Visser - Ooze, Shilesh Hariharan - Ooze

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STRUCTURE – Ronald Wenting - ABT
CONSTRUCTION – Bouwhaven Consultants
WATER SYSTEM – Kilian Water
CONTRACTORS: Tiggelovend-Kok & Vandulmen

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GARDENER: Andre Piegsa
DATE: 29 / 05 / 2010 to 05 / 09 / 2010

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THANKS TO: Herr Thuena (EG), Simon Schubert (Foerder-Demmer), Mariana Idiarte, Veronika Pfannes

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See also:

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The Blue Fence Project by StudioSuperniche OceanScope by
AnL Studio
Suncheon International Wetlands Centre by G.Lab*
  • xtiaan

    Im digging the elevated toilets at the end of the bridge

  • David

    Great to see a project that combines environmental concerns, education, engaging form and play. Bravo.