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Studio Roosegaarde’s "Gates of Light" design wins Global Future Design Award 2020

Netherlands Architecture News - Dec 29, 2020 - 16:25   3609 views

Studio Roosegaarde’s

Studio Roosegaarde is founded by Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde and is based in a former glass factory in the harbour of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. With a team of designers and engineers, Studio Roosegaarde aims to improve daily life in urban environments through connecting people and technology. His projects are artworks that inspire and spark imagination. Sustainability and climate crisis awareness are key principles in the studio. Daan Roosegaarde is the maker of social designs which explore the relation between people, technology and space.

Studio Roosegaarde’s design Gates of Light has won the Global Future Design Award 2020. The Gates of Light project is located on De Afsluitdijk, a unique location in the Netherlands, connecting the provinces Friesland and North Holland. De Afsluitdijk is a hand built, 32 kilometre long dike which protects the Netherlands against water and flooding. The project, built in 1932, is an engineering highlight of the Netherlands. After 85 years of use, the Dutch Government commissioned the design innovation program Icoon Afsluitdijk, enhancing the innovative character of the project and highlighting its key functions: water protection & heritage. The aim of the project was to create an exemplary model of a smart landscape of the future through energy and mobility.


De Afsluitdijk, connecting two Dutch provinces through a 32 km long dike

The 60 flootgates, designed by Dirk Roosenburg in 1932

60 monumental floodgates were designed in 1932 along the dike by architect Dirk Roosenburg, grandfather of architect Rem Koolhaas. For the Icoon Afsluitdijk project, Daan Roosegaarde developed three designs: Gates of Light, Windvogel and Glowing Nature. The Gates of Light design enhances the iconic character of the dike, by adding a layer of light and interaction.


The renovated floodgates.

Highlighted with retro-reflective strips.

The floodgates have been completely renovated and augmented with a retro-reflective layer. In the dark, the headlights of the passing cars (20.000 daily) illuminate the architecture of these 60 structures. The light reflects through small prisms, resulting in that if there are no cars on the road, the structure is completely dark. This use of light requires zero energy and does not contribute to light pollution.


The car's headlights illuminate the architecture.

The retro-reflective prisms used in the design.

Roosegaarde’s internationally acclaimed works include "waterlicht",  a virtual flood showing the power of water and the "smog free project", world’s first largest outdoor air purifier. Waste is an important topic for Roosegaarde, which is shown in for example "the space waste lab project", where space waste is visualized and upcycled. Another example is the smog waste of the ‘smog free project’, where the waste was turned into jewellery that partially funded the project.

Studio Roosegaarde’s

Project information

Location: 53° 0′ NB, 5° 10′ OL, Afsluitdijk the Netherlands.

In collaboration with: Daan Roosegaarde and Studio Roosegaarde, The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Rijkswaterstaat, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, De Nieuwe Afsluitdijk, Province of Friesland, and Province of North Holland.

Development partners: KitePower, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), TTB, Eurocarbon, Versalume.

Clients: The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and De Nieuwe Afsluitdijk.

Awards: Global Future Design Awards 2020, The International Architecture Transportation Award 2019, Europe 40 under 40 Awards, A ‘Design Awards Platinum 2018.

All images are courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde.

> via Studio Roosegaarde