Testing and Floating on New Lakes in a Transforming Region of Opencast Mines

Benjamin Casper, Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier

The increasing competition for land raise the pressure to accommodate unusually high densities in small urban areas and to open up new settlement areas in an urbanized area as the “Rheinisches Revier” in Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany. In addition to the sensitive, small-town and village structures, in which an acceptance of more urban densities to an appropriate and locally adapted extent is currently difficult to foresee, new urban structures can be considered in previously unused areas. The open-cast mining areas, which will be used as lakes in the future, offer sufficient space for living and working on the water and re-orientate a whole region towards those new frontiers. The re-orientation towards the water will be procedural, due to the decades lasting period of water infill.

The challenges of an anthropogenic lake production are embedded in conceptual, legal, governance, geomorphologic, spatial and temporal issues that need to be addressed at the ever moving shore-line of the new lakes. Floating Buildings and infrastructures could be installed at an early stage of the open-cast mining flooding and, as the number of buildings and areas increases, further buildings and areas could be added in order to integrate learning processes and empirical values step by step into the new areas and finally build a functioning small town on the lake. The future highly-relevant topic of dealing with rising sea levels in numerous coastal cities will be exemplarily addressed in these shifting boundaries. This puts the future lakes in a position to be a experimental testing field for amphibious and floating constructions.

Keywords – Future lakes, Experimental testing field, Rheinisches Revier, Interim usage, Open-cast mining


Benjamin Casper is an architect and urban planner and graduated at RWTH Aachen as Dipl.-Ing. After a year-long research stay in Bangkok in 2001/2002 he studied on various urban questions of Bangkok and received an award of the Stiftung Deutscher Architekten for his thesis on “The Shophouse in Bangkok”.

Currently, he is working on his PhD combining geographical research with an urban architectural background concerning the integration of a water-oriented urban morphology. He is working now at the Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier as a project manager in regional management. He focuses on the architectural, urban morphological and urban planning issues of an amphibious living space. He approaches the water-land nexus with an anthropocene perspective and starts to build up an interdisciplinary network to implement a competence center for amphibious constructions at the lake Inden in the Rheinische Revier.

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