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Under Sea Level

Location: Flevoland, the Netherlands

Type: concept design, detail design

Size: 200 hectare

Purpose: nature activity center, recreation, natural landscape

Client: National Forest Service

Partners: Olaf Gipser Architects and Arup Amsterdam

Time: 2010-now

Status: under construction



The land of Flevoland was reclaimed from the sea during 1950s. This area lies 5 meters under sea level, after the dikes were built and water was pumped, the vast seabed was exposed to the air. Previously, this area was set aside for future industrial development. However, over the following decades the nature took control and did not let go. “Nature’s primal force” has been released here, thus the former industrial plan was canceled, and this area was marked as natural reserve. 


The Netherlands National Forest Service hopes to have a nature reserve visitor center here, including a building and surrounding landscapes. Visitors are invited to experience how wildness explosive growing under their feet, discover the massive flora and fauna species showed up in this process in their own way. The four stages of environmental evolution process: water to willow woods, are now displayed on the same moment.


The architectural concept is derived from landscape exhibition and the overall design. The water roof marks the old sea level, the building structure with a dynamic interaction with the landscape and the noticeable platform will be an eye-catcher of this region, visitors will be immersed in this new world of wildness.