Mud Ways

The work puts forward five architectural designs that engage with and register the effect of introducing more natural forces to the cultivated landscape of the Netherlands. Where Rijkswaterstaat and Vereniging Natuurmonumenten have plans to adapt the civil engineering works that keep the cultivated landscape in place so as to give more room for natural forces and for natural landscapes to evolve, Mud seeks ways in which these can be inhabited. The designs are scenario-based possibilities inspired by the ‘reading’ of the landscape through the making of maps, photographs and the act of walking. It is through bringing together the practical with the poetic that the essential sources, ideas, material and design criteria have emerged.

Each of five architectural designs is about a particular place yet each touches on energies that flow throughout all Nature, that drive its restlessness. They show how we can become more in touch with what is underfoot by binding with muddy flows and streams and leaving traces and marks of passing time. They show too that tides, currents, and winds, even boats and things that are placed within these flows are also, in a sense, ‘places’.

Like creatures of the mud they are neither earth bound nor heavenly but find themselves caught between these two realms. Shifting between wet and dry grounds they are part of the rhythmical and mythical streaming of things, yielding to the place from which they are born and which they then begin to shape. They seek to bind with and call forth what is left of the Dutch wilderness and to raise awareness of living within and of a restless Nature beyond the dikes that would have it tamed.


In the research, innovative large scale spatial planning strategies that are being developed by the Dutch Water Authority and Vereniging Natuurmonumenten to adapt to climate change are entwined with small scale architectural inventions.

Mud strives for the reconciliation of architecture with landscape by engaging inhabitation with place understood more in terms of ‘lines of movement and growth’ [Tim Ingold, ‘The Perception of The Environment’.] rather than as a fixed location.

It asks if architecture is understood more in terms of shifts and streams and developed along lines of movement and growth, is it more able to address climate change and offer more sustainable ways of living?


Design for a floating walkway


Maps and flooding strategies: Michiel Pouderoijen, TU/Delft
Book Design: Joost Grootens
Photography: Hans Bol
Sound: BMB con./Justin Bennett
Animations: Faiz bin Zohri

Advisors: Roel Posthoorn (Ver. Natuurmonumenten), Marcel Tosserams (RWS), Menno-Bart van Eerden (RWS), Gerda Lenselink (Delatares), Jan-Wouter Bruggenkamp

With support from Creative Industries Fund NL

     Height and depths map of NL 
     M_02_Marken House and Boat 
     M_03_Growth of Footings