The Netherlands no longer needs controlled flooding to protect it from potential foes, which has left former military outposts along the constructed waterlines with a distinct lack of modern-day functionality and TLC. All that is changing, however, with a glut of adaptive reuse projects. Like Emma Architecten’s recent Pavilion Puur, Fort “Werk aan ‘t Spoel” is a historical monument turned social and cultural destination.
Situated off the Lek river in the centrally located municipality of Culemborg, the project is the brainchild of Amsterdam-based multidisciplinary design and research office Rietveld Landscape--guided by the unique talents of landscape architect Ronald Rietveld and philosopher/economist Erik Rietveld--in collaboration with Atelier de Lyon and Anouk Vogel. The grounds are dotted with bunkers and bombproof buildings, renovated to support a range of gatherings for tourists and locals alike. A long-derelict fort will get a much-needed facelift, accompanied by the construction of a new adjacent fort house. Add in what looks to be an impeccably kept lawn, and you’ve got a prime spot that’s just about perfect for that favorite of Dutch pastimes, picnicking--they do adore their picnics--while a recessed earthwork amphitheater like a large-scale, grass-covered conversation pit completes the scene. Groovy.