TeamWest8

Designer Q+A: Adriaan Geuze for Team West 8

June 21, 2013 by Elizabeth Hixson

This is the second of three exclusive Q & A’s with the Water Works finalist teams. Find the others by selecting Water Works in our blog Categories (at right).

Today, Adriaan Geuze responds on behalf of Team West 8.

Water Works has many layers including history and archaeology, significance to First Nations, geology, the river, and the falls. What fascinates you about Water Works?
Water Works is a unique place beyond imagination. Geographically speaking the site is poised between nature, urban settlement, and the hydraulics of the river. The layers of context and patterns of previous use imbue Water Works and its surroundings with a rich tapestry of collective meaning.

As a Netherlands-based practice, water related projects fascinate us. They are instinctive to us. We have been designing waterfronts for over 20 years. How water relates with people’s daily life remains a strong element in our design approach and is a fundamental issue we are eager to address in the Water Works project.

How can we future-proof our parks? What are the big issues facing urban parks in this century?
Parks of the 21st century are suffering from a lack of ambition. Today’s society is caught up in a collection of incongruent layers; regulations, project management, bureaucracy, etc. Although each of these layers may have its own agenda, there is often a lack of cohesion or common goal, which results in no ambition.

The capacity of our forefathers to see a bigger picture for future generations needs to be reignited. Horace Cleveland’s vision for a network of publicly accessible lakes, creeks, waterways and rivers within the city of Minneapolis for the 19th Century was ambitious. The legacy of his design continues today.

What is your favorite river or waterfront city, and what do you like about it?
Our favorite waterfront city, is all of them together. Imagine? Time enriches and develops singular places. From the ancient waterways of Venice to the thousand bridges of Amsterdam, reinterpreted canals system in St. Petersburg, to the efficient grid of New York, we find inspiration. Minneapolis lies at the mouth of St. Anthony Falls embedded in the legacy of the almighty Mississippi.

What got you interested in design and what keeps you fascinated?
Design as a “Challenge” rests in the set of variables and conditions that are unique to each project. Each project poses a particular problem, which provokes a distinctive design response. This is in essence creativity; every project is an opportunity to create something specific. It is this uniqueness and a project’s cultural background, which inspires the conception of our design. This design challenge is what keeps us fascinated.

Featured Image (from left): Adriaan Geuze/West8, Evan Rose/SITELAB, William Conway/Conway+Schulte Architects

Water Works is Supported By:
St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board | Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation
Pentair Foundation | Many Generous Donors

Additional Funding Provided By:
McKnight Foundation | George Family Foundation| Curtis L. Carlson Foundation

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