Urban Design and Landscape

Dear Dendermonde... "The Dender Machine"

Paulino Poveda Molina
Sint-Lucas School of Architecture (Sint-Lucas Architectuur, Hogeschool voor Wetenschap & Kunst) (Brussels – Ghent) – dpt. Architectuur
Spain

Project idea

Dear Dendermonde… “The Dender Machine” is the story of a project located in the beautiful town of Dendermonde (Belgium). This proposal links past, present and future in a way that cannot be separate. Arches, bricks, greenery, ruins, history and people come together creating “Dender machine”, an urban, landscape and architecture system where energy and users join, appearing a new way of life.

In 1649, Dendermonde was a smaller city surrounded by fortifications where several bastions appeared to defend its inhabitants. These bastions were a fortifies redoubt projecting outward from the main body of the fortress, as a strong point of defence against the enemy troops. The “Dender Machine” took them as a part of itself, turning them into five different machines: Green Machine, Wi-Fi Machine, Piezo Machine, Music Machine and Water Machine. Finally, all type of energy appears in the Kazerne Machine, an Electricity Factory located in a military old building.

A big machine where greenery, wind, sun, music, movement, water, communication and people come together creating a big network that turns Dendermonde into a more sustainable city. A place where users become part of the machine. Part of Dendermonde.

Project description

How “Dender Machine” can completely change Dendermonde?

First of all, it takes some fortress historic buildings drawing three steps or levels:

First level is Tie Streets: a path that connects the existing spaces with the bastions, creating a flexible tie that travels around the city, generating different spaces and furniture, and providing energy.

Second level is Fortification Streets: a new system of “brick urban furniture”, flexible elements that create little spaces between bastions, connecting them in a visual way by the materiality, bricks.

Third level is Bastion Spaces, energy machines that produce electricity in several ways: water, greenery, movement, wind, music… All this spaces shared a hallmark, the arch, an element that repeats indefinitely, and generates an homogeneous image. Starting from the simple form of an arch, adding, multiplying, and placing it in different positions, sizes and materials, it created infinite changing atmospheres, depending on the needs of the moment.

Five different machines appeared: Green Machine, Wi-Fi Machine, Piezo Machine, Music Machine and Water Machine; all of them leaded by the Data Centre, located in the old Arsenaal, an office that collects the data of the machines and controls them.

Finally, we find the Kazerne, a great energy machine, a building where all the energies come together to generate a Factory of electricity. The Kazerne is a big building that has all the machines inside. In the past it was an infantry and artillery building, with two levels and fourteen bays. It also had a big outdoor corridor to access the different levels, and some small buildings in the surroundings.

This project completely transforms Dendermonde, creating also tourist attractions so the visitors can be part of the machines, providing energy for the city. A sustainable and eco-friendly project for the town.

Technical information

In more technical detail, every machine provides energy in a different way. Let’s discover how this energy machine works!

Green Machine – Bastion IX
This was part of an old Institute, a storage and a parking bike that was transformed into a Green machine and a multipurpose building, depending on the day. You can find a market day, a rainy day or a night festival with inflatable structures. The roof is the Green Machine. Here you can see an orchard, a dense Green dome, and other elements as water tanks and wind mills. But, how can we produce electricity with a plant? It is a bit complex process, but it Works with the photosynthesis in the roots of the plants. Adding a membrane, we can take the electrons produced there and turn them into electricity.

Wi-Fi Machine – Bastion VIII
Bastion VIII is a natural park with some ruins of the bastions. It was completely transformed into an ergonomic artificial park with hills that provide energy with communication between users. This garden provides free Wi-Fi internet connection to their users, a place to surf the Internet and communicate with others. All these hills have special cells that work using electromagnetic signals as common as Wi-Fi and mobile networks. These cells contain led lights to illuminate at night. In addition, we find the arches as generators, elements transmitters of Wi-Fi and lighting.

Piezo Machine- Bastion V
In this Bastion there were located a water tower, some casemates, that are storage fortress buildings, and jazz club that exists nowadays. The Water Tower was completely transformed into a balcony building. This Machine works with piezoelectricity. As you walk, your steps produce electricity, so each step provides energy to the city. This tower also collects water from the roof, were some greenery and wind mills are located.

Music Machine – Brusselsse Poort and Powder House
Brusselsse Poort was one of the four main gates of the city. The Powder House, was a place where gun powder was stored. These two were changed into a Music Machine, a concert-hall area. This spaces provides two kind of atmospheres: a covered side for “Standing Up Concerts” for pop, rock and an open side for “Sitting Concerts” for classical, chorus music, jazz… In all the arches and in the hill, you can find some Little round machines. They are called “Green Noise”, a small speaker that catch the sound waves and turn them into electricity. Feel free to sing here, you voice is necessary to produce electricity!

Water Machine – Bastion IV
In this space you could find a ruin bridge and the rest of the bastion. Three different spaces were generated depending on the time of the year. In Winter, it appears Dendermonde Thermal Bats. At Christmas it changes into an Ice Skating Rink, and in Summer and Spring, this space is transformed into a large public pool. How this machine produces energy? The main aim of it is to purify water, rainwater and the water of the canal too, to use it in the swimming pools. Rainwater is caught with the arches, that have some turbines inside, When the water goes down, it moves producing electricity.

Dender Machine – Kazerne
In the past it was an infantry and artillery building, with two levels and fourteen bays. It also had a big outdoor corridor to access the different levels, and some small buildings in the surroundings. The Kazerne becomes a great energy machine, a building where all the energies come together to generate a Factory of electricity. In the middle we have the Electricity Factory with the power box, where Electricity is stored. Surrounding it, it appears two Green houses in both sides and in the roof, with a wind mill station. The greenery helps to purify the air of the Factory, and also avoids the noise produced there.

It also appears a Start-up centre, a gym and a Music Machine inside, all of them for the production of energy. Long boxes connect all the machines and contain different uses. This boxes send energy and pure air from the Green House, where vegetation cleans the air, to all the machines, creating a healthier and more sustainable atmosphere.

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