Detours Obligatory: Rotterdam’s Water Square

At last!

THE DIRT

On the Benthemsquare in Rotterdam, Dutch landscape architecture firm De Urbanisten has finally achieved what they set out to do seven years ago: create a water park for the community fed entirely by storm water. Instead of hiding runoff in underground pipes and cisterns, the square has been designed to make water the main feature. The designers say this is the world’s first “water square.”

watersquare Watersquare Benthemplein / De Urbanisten

Storm water is channeled through stainless steel gutters into three basins. Two shallow ones collect water whenever it rains, while another deeper basin is reserved for overflows from heavier storms. To help people understand what will flood or not, everything that can flood is painted in shades of blue.

square2 Watersquare Benthemplein / Millad Pallesh

square3 Watersquare Benthemplein / Millad Pallesh

And all that transports water is shiny metal.

steel Watersquare Benthemplein / Millad Pallesh

In summer, if there is flooding, the main…

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