woensdag 26 maart 2014


As mentioned in the Vision the area lacks a clear centre. It also lacks green and the office area actually disrupts the green structure of the Brettenzone. The research offers great opportunities to add extra functionality to a green area and to increase awareness about waste to food cycles in the urban system.

These conclusions lead to the idea of making a green stepping stone that repairs the green structure of the Brettenzone, while also offering a meeting place for the people using and going through the Teleport area. Because this green typology is not only a park but actually treats local wastestreams and produces food, this closed cycle is the main feature of the park. People will be able to follow the process from waste to food (or food to waste) and can experience the beauty of crops, see and smell how food grows and even taste it in the restaurant, after which they return it again to the system as waste. As the Living Plant focuses on the process of waste to food and the role plants play in this process a web of walkways hovers above the planted square and the gardens to offer a special experience of the process from a different level.

View from square with elevated web
Last week I had my presentation to decide whether I was allowed to graduate and I passed, so now I'll be working on my graduation presentation for the next few weeks. After that I'll update this blog again with more in dept information. In case that takes too long, please contact me.

maandag 21 oktober 2013


The idea of implementing the conclusions of the research in a building is to show that one building can actually serve as a treatment plant for the neighbourhood adding green space and food production as a byproduct. In this way it is not necessary to change the whole neighbourhood, but only to add a building which closes cycles on a local level and creates awareness among inhabitants. 

Looking at the Brettenzone as a whole and the site as a part of this, it would be interesting to add a new type of green to this structure which may connect different functions in the so-called 'green finger'. Currently the Brettenzone consists of a range of green functions such as a park, allotment gardens, sport parks and 'wild nature'. Although the Tuinen van West are no part of the Brettenzone, they do border it and are currently being developed as a new recreation area with also an edible park and urban agriculture. 

Besides, the new plans of the municipality of Amsterdam are to change this office district in a mixed-function neighbourhood with both housing and business. This trend offers the opportunity to create a building that also connects neighbours with eachother as well as with the Brettenzone as a whole. For a new neighbourhood it would be interesting to think of a public function that has a connection also with the system. This could be a market where people can buy their daily fresh groceries, but also see how some of these groceries (vegetables, herbs and fruit) are being grown on their local wastewater. In this way awareness is raised about natural systems in which waste of one organism is food for another and the role human beings play in this larger system of which we undoubtly are part of.

maandag 14 oktober 2013


The research that has been explained will be clarified and implemented in a design. The site for this design will be in or around the Brettenzone area in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In this case the site lies within the Teleport area, an office district which intersects the green Brettenzone area.

The Teleport area around Amsterdam Sloterdijk train station is a very monofunctional office district. Besides offices and premises there are a hotel and a few educational facilities. Because of the lack of housing, shopping and cultural facilities, the area is only lively on very specific moments of the day. Except for rush hours and, to a lesser extent, lunchtime, the area is mainly abandoned. Also during weekends the streets are empty.

Aerial view of the Teleport area towards Haarlem from the book ‘Tussen Haarlemmerpoort en Halfweg’ (Abrahamse, Kosian, & Schmitz, 2010)

Being located around the Amsterdam Sloterdijk train station, the area could be very interesting for businesses. This train station is the ninth busiest in the Netherlands when it comes to the amount of travellers with 50,000 people passing every day. There are good connections to Amsterdam Central station (5 minutes) and Schiphol (10 minutes) as well as regular trains to Haarlem (10 minutes), Leiden (30 minutes), the Hague (45 minutes) and Rotterdam (1h05). The area is also well connected to the ring (A10 highway) around Amsterdam. Schiphol is close by as mentioned before and the Westpoort harbour area lies just north of the Teleport area. So all modes of transport, both public and private, on land and water as well as in the air are well represented.

The result of this abundance of transport connections as well as the proximity of the harbour is a rather bad air quality, especially around the major highway. The background concentration of particulate matter (PM10) in the area is on average 27-31 μg/m3 with peak concentrations around the highways exceeding 35 μg/m3. Research done by Ragas, Oldenkamp, Preeker, Wernicke, and Schlink (2011) shows the mean concentrations of PM10, benzene, toluene, naphthalene and nonane in a fictitious city (Urbania) for both outdoors as well as office environments as shown on the next page. Comparing the values of PM10 from this study and from the situation in the Teleport shows that the location has slightly higher concentrations in general and is very polluted around the highways, where the annual average is higher than the EU threshold of 28 μg/m3, which is 70 per cent of the limit value (EU directive 2008/50/EG).

Concentration of particulate matter in the air, darker is higher concentration
For nitrogen dioxide (NO2) the background concentration in the area is 30-38 μg/m3 with concentrations higher than 45 μg/m3 close to the highways. These concentrations exceed the annual threshold for the protection of human health of 32 μg/m3, which is 80 per cent of the limit value according to EU legislation (EU directive 2008/50/EG).

Concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the air, darker is higher concentration

Benzene concentrations outdoors are even lower than the lower threshold of EU regulations of 2 μg/m3, which is 40 per cent of the annual limit value (EU directive 2008/50/EG). In offices however, the median is a lot higher than the upper threshold of 3,5 μg/m3 and even higher than the limit value of 5 μg/m3 (EU directive 2008/50/EG). (Ragas et al., 2011)
Concentrations of VOCs and PM10 in the air (Ragas et al., 2011)

CO2 concentrations are about 700 ppm in cities, compared to the earth’s average of 400 ppm. In offices these concentrations are often even higher, between 800 and 1000 ppm, due to bad ventilation. When concentrations exceed 1200 ppm it is necessary to have your system checked (Raue, 2010). Although CO2 concentrations as high as 5000 and even 8000 ppm do not produce stress on the human body (Schaefer, 1961), they are being used as indicator for indoor air quality and therefore they should not exceed the 1200 ppm mark. However, as the CO2 concentration is an indicator of ‘freshness’ of the air, it is not really a good indicator for concentrations of for example volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, germs or allergens (Bergs, 2004).

Besides being a rather polluted area, the Teleport also cuts right through an important piece of the main green infrastructure (Hoofdgroenstructuur) as depicted by the municipality of Amsterdam. This part of the green infrastructure is called the Brettenzone and is an interesting mix of different types of green, from ‘wild’ nature (ruigtegebied/struinnatuur) to city parks to sports fields to allotment gardens. Within this patchwork of green infrastructure, the Teleport area is a barren land that could play an important role in connecting the different green areas. Interestingly, because of the building crisis, there are some wastelands in the core of the area that will not be developed in the near future (Wageningen, ?). This offers opportunities for the realization of a stepping stone kind of structure on the neighbourhood scale. 

Natural value according to municipality, darker is higher value
To get an idea what the amount of wastewater is that is being produced in the Teleport area, an assumption has been made using information of the municipality for the gross floor area of the buildings in the Teleport area, combined with average drinking water consumption data of offices as published at milieubarometer.nl/kantoor (last checked January 14th 2013) and of child daycare (used for the schools) published at milieubarometer.nl/kinderdagverblijf (last checked January 14th 2013). For the hotel, the amount of rooms is multiplied by the average amount of water a Dutch person used per day in 2010, based on information in the Drinkwaterstatistieken 2012 (Drinking water statistics 2012) (Geudens, 2012). This information shows that the total daily use of water by the offices alone is about 460 m3; together with the schools and hotel this grows to about 570 m3 of drinking water. The premises are left out because it differs a lot per industry what amount and kind of wastewater they produce. The assumption is made that the input of drinking water is more or less equal to the output of wastewater, as the water is mainly used for toilet flushing and drinking.

In the same way as described for the water use, the need for ventilation air is calculated. Data of the municipality for gross floor area were combined with data of the amount of users per square meter. The amount of users is then combined with the legal ventilation air rate according to NEN 8088:1+C1 (2012); which is 6,5 dm3/s per person for offices, 8,5 dm3/s per person for education and 12 dm3/s per person for accommodation functions (logiesfunctie). These data show that all the offices together need 376442 m3/h of ventilation air; together with the schools and the hotel this amount increases to 470725 m3/h.

List of references
Bergs, J. A. (2004). Planten in gebouwen: luchtverbeteraars en stresskillers Praktijkboek Duurzaam Bouwen.
Geudens, P. J. J. G. (2012). Drinkwaterstatistieken 2012. Rijswijk, the Netherlands: VEWIN.
Ragas, A. M. J., Oldenkamp, R., Preeker, N. L., Wernicke, J., & Schlink, U. (2011). Cumulative risk assessment of chemical exposures in urban environments. Environment International, 37(5).
Raue, A. (2010, March 2010). Frisse lucht, gezond kantoor. Arbo Magazine, 20-21.
Schaefer, K. E. (1961). A concept of triple tolerance limits based on chronic carbon dioxide toxicity studies. Aerospace Medicine, 32, 197-204.
Wageningen, D. v. (?). De vrije velden van Amsterdam Teleport. Amsterdam: Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Amsterdam.

zondag 13 oktober 2013


In the natural world, the plant kingdom is very interconnected with the animal kingdom. Plants provide oxygen and clean water as well as food and various other services to the animals, whereas animals provide food (excrements) and nutrient rich water (urine) as well as carbondioxide and other services such as seed dispersal to plants. In an urban system however, the environment is dominated by very few species and plants are usually underrepresented. This lead to the question whether it would be possible to design a building in which plants clean urban waste streams, such as sewage and polluted air while at the same time providing fresh food. 

The research was divided in three main topics; air, water and food. This was based on the existence of systems in which plants are used to purify either air or water or are used to grow food. Systems in which plants purify air are for example green living walls, such as the ones from Nedlaw developed by dr. Darlington. Systems of plants purifying water are constructed wetlands outside or living machines for interior spaces. Living machines were first developed by John Todd and are now being further developed by Living Machine ®. The only living machine in the Netherlands is at Emmen Zoo (more info in Dutch: de Waterfabriek). The focus for all topics was on interior systems, because exterior systems are dependent on climatic conditions and often hardly function during winter time. In more temperate or tropical climates than the Netherlands, this is less of an issue. For food production systems the focus is on systems in which plants are being grown indoors and on hydroponics or aeroponics, as in these systems air and water flows are already existent. This means it is easier to use waste air and wastewater in these systems. These ideas let to the following diagrams in which vegetables, fruit and herbs are being grown on waste water and aerated with waste air.

                     Aeroponics                             Hydroponics             Hydroponics with growing medium