Hydrapier, Haarlemmermeer, 2001

Built for the international horticultural exhibition, The Floriade 2002 in Haarlemmermeer, near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, HydraPier, the dike, is an imposing group of tapered forms that evoke both the wings of an airplane and the hull of a ship. This shell is the result of it merging with its environment: the water and the sky crisscrossed by airplanes. Taking advantage of the basic underlying struggle between earth and water (polder zone), but also between natural and reconstructed landscapes, between real and technological devices, Asymptote’s building is based on the opposition between water and land: the pavilion, of approximately sixty-five meters in length, emerges in two inclined planes that separate right at the break between land and water, a key factor in the region’s history. The constant struggle to evacuate water towards the sea is materialized through two cascades located exactly at the point of this break, which is not only the articulating axis but also the entrance to the building. Created and calculated with computers, the double-curvature surfaces alternately open and close, both on the level of the wings and the fuselage. The architects wished to create a dynamic architectural “landscape” resulting from the combination of both natural and technological forces. The continuous flow of water, constantly controlled by pumps, engenders surfaces that appear fluid, reflective and bright. Asymptote literally “liquefies” the structure in its watery environment, thus making it disappear to the eyes of those flying overhead in planes.

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