Architecture & The Texel Beach

The municipality of Texel has big ambitions for the island. To become energy neutral by 2020 and to attain as much independence from the so called 'Vastlanders' aka mainlanders as possible. Next to this, they would like to increase their tourist-numbers while protecting their beautiful landscape. Not an easy ambition to be sure.

Within my Architectural Engineering studio of the Architecture faculty we have a group of students that focus their architectural implementation of a sustainable design on the beaches of the Netherlands. When asked by a fellow student, Frederick Ulijn, what kind of location would suit his design, I did not hesitate to recommend to use the Island of Texel for his context. The Island, with its ambitions would suit these uniquely sustainable designs to a tee.

Imagine my surprise when I heard a week later from this student that Texel wanted nothing to do with students that had the intention on using their beaches to implement sustainable architectural solutions. The literal phrasing was I think 'A great idea, but not on our beaches no'. This week, we enjoyed a guest lecture by Jacco Boersen. His phrasing on Texelaars perfectly summarized the attitude of the islanders:

'We would like to become sustainable, we however do not like change'.

It is of course understandable that the people of Texel would like their beaches to be protected from over-usage by, for example, tourists. The solutions proposed by the Architectural Studio however might offer the perfect solution to house an increasing amount of tourist while keeping the beaches of Texel intact.

I would like to use this column to explain each week an architectural design made by one of the AE students. In this column will be discussed what the design entails, and how these graduation projects could help to achieve the ambitions Texel has put forward.

Nadia Remmerswaal

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