Scale model Eel park
From July 9 to November 27 2022, landscape architect Thijs de Zeeuw presented at ARCAM the results of his speculative research into the representation of the eel in Amsterdam in a maquette, as part of the exhibition The liquid building block – designing with water in Amsterdam.
The design for the Eel Park Amsterdam consists of a number of proposals that transform the corner in the Oosterdok behind ARCAM into an (under)water park. The proposals are the results from experiments, literature research and conversations with experts into the possibility of a multi-species city.
First, the design offers opportunities that increase biodiversity and biomass. For example, depth variation has been introduced with a ‘deep ecology trough’ in which gabions are used to accommodate height differences and add a lot of shelter space. This ‘trough’ provides complete darkness at a depth of 12 meters and allows water to cool more strongly at the bottom, creating diversity in temperature and oxygen content. It also increases salinity at the bottom as the heavier water sinks to the bottom. Parts of the bowl actually become shallower, allowing more light to reach the bottom and aquatic plants to establish themselves. A section will be protected from wind to allow more vulnerable plants to grow.
To keep the park free of waste, a bubble screen will capture waste. An additional effect is that the screen absorbs ambient noise, creating silence in the park. The park is more shallow at the edge so that loud and high-pitched noise is also somewhat dampened. Finally, there is a “silence room” in the park, a space fringed with reeds through which additional noise is filtered.
The Eel Park encourages people to come closer to the water. There is a beach where the water can be entered, and a “Jesus Path,” a path just below the surface, invisible from the wharf but accessible with boots or bare feet. For swimmers, there is the snorkeling trail that invites to experience the perspective of the aquatic inhabitants.
Finally, there are some proposals that make aquatic life more accessible. There is a glass floor through which you can see the underwater world, and a marble staircase where, due to the white surface, fish, lobsters and crabs suddenly become visible. Lights have also been installed underwater in a few places so that life becomes visible to humans also at night.