This competition entry describes a World Sustainability Center located on the Netherlands’ Afsluitdijk, a 30 mile long man-made isthmus separating the freshwater Lake Ijsselmeer from the saltwater Waddenzee. The form of the sustainability center reinforces and draws attention to the power of subtle topographic shifts in this lowland environment. The proposal calls for protection of the Afsluitdijk with a salt-marsh polder system to act as a buffer to resist rising storm surges from the Waddenzee’s side. The sustainability center itself is one of a series of interventions along the dike which allow for contemplation and recreational use of the landscape.

The sustainability center features many novel strategies for energy conservation, including a reverse electrodialysis plant to take advantage of the saline/freshwater gradient across the dike, wind turbines, on-site waste processing, and a reconfigurable fa├žade that allows for adjustment of the conditioned volume of the facility to match seasonal fluctuations in visitor numbers. The entry was shortlisted and moved to the second stage of this international competition.