Hongerige Wolf – Groningen
Solar park and retreat
“Our proposal is a statement against exploitation of fossil fuels, its shape inspired by the abstract schematization of a shockwave from a seismograph.”
A big part of Groningen is currently in a seismic hazard zone, where earthquakes are induced by gas drilling activities. Villages like Hongerige Wolf and Ganzedijk are situated in the peripheries of this hazard zone. Most of the population in Groningen province is upset about the current developments, and the exploitation of the area creates uncertain living conditions. In a time of great sustainable innovations, why do we still choose fossil related solutions which harm the environment and people? We studied a wide range of crossbreeding options, merging sustainability, leisure, art and the polder landscape qualities. In a clear and clean statement against the current situation, this structure could be an example for other sustainable solutions. By including a mixed-use program, this source of energy becomes both a destination and journey in one.
The proposal is a statement against exploitation of fossil fuels, its shape inspired by the abstract schematization of a shockwave from a seismograph.
A grand concrete structure will be placed above the dike road as a transition between Ganzedijk and Hongerige Wolf. An interactive experience for pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers as the view becomes more transparent when you pass it at a higher speed, because the beams will be fading.
The angular direction related to the road provides transparency and views into the surrounding landscape. By its north-south openness the polder landscape is respected, and this open versus closed character is the perfect metaphor for the landscape of Groningen and the Groningers themselves.
The structure will contain 9.100 m2 of solar panels, providing enough energy for 150 households of approximately four persons each year. This covers Hongerige Wolf and Ganzedijk, enough energy remains for other purposes. The panels in between the structure will be orientated in a northsouth direction to provide optimal conditions for the sun. By lift ing the solar panels, the soil beneath it still can be used. It can provide shelter, but still is transparent. A sustainable solar park arises.
This grand structure can be a place to rest and relax, as it will house a retreat with 25 pods that emphasize the abundance of silence. This retreat literally feels like it’s at the end of the world, as the road ends at the Dutch border and from the pods there is only green in sight. The area is known to attract artists, and the pods could off er them a great studio workplace as well.
Naturally, the retreat is powered by the solar panels as well.
But as a shockwave is pulsating, the program can easily be alternated by activity. For instance, the Hongerige Wolf festival in July draws an audience that seeks an artistic thrill and the structure can be easily included in the festival program.
All in all, this structure will be a source of clean solar energy, an artwork highlighting the open versus closed character of Groningen, with a mixed-use program of silence and activity at the border of the Netherlands.
Roy Plevier, Sanne Knoben.
Research, PrixDeRome, 35.000 m², Groningen, Solarenergypark, Netherlands.