Students present their vision for Dortmund’s future community aquaponics centre
21 March 2019
In October 2018, the landscape architecture Master students from the RWTH University of Aachen were tasked with designing a future community aquaponics centre in Dortmund’s proGIreg Living Lab of Huckarde. Where in Dortmund-Huckarde would an aquaponics centre have the greatest impact? What kinds of recycled or locally-produced materials could be used for the building? What function should this centre fulfil in the local community? On 19 February, after several months of design work, the students presented their proposals.
Some proposals reflected the aquaponics concept of zero waste: in aquaponics, waste water produced by the fish provides nutrients that feed the plants. The students proposed fitting solar panels to the buildings’ roofs and using recyclable as well as recycled or locally-produced materials from the area.
The proposals also focussed on the future users of this centre. While some proposed a decentralised system of several smaller aquaponics tanks throughout the Huckarde neighbourhood, others preferred one main centre for all to use. To attract residents to participate and use the place, some suggested creating a lot more than an aquaponics centre, and presented ideas including an exhibition aquaponics tank and a community space combined with a café, a co-working space for small businesses, a study room for students, spaces for local associations to meet, and a shop for selling the locally-produced products.
ProGIreg project partners and aquaponics experts, Die Urbanisten and Aquaponik Manufaktur, attended the event to gain inspiration for the ideas for the final design of the centre. “Combining research and teaching in a design studio is a win-win situation for both: while the proGIreg partners receive a wealth of innovative ideas for their Living Lab, the students enjoy working on real-life questions and receiving positive feedback on their work from the local stakeholders” said proGIreg coordinator Dr.-Ing. Axel Timpe, RWTH Aachen University. Since the intention is, that the aquaponics centre in Huckarde becomes a focal point for proGIreg in Dortmund, the design is therefore key to attracting community participation in the project.
Image: Reintgen & Nedkova / RWTH Aachen Institute of Landscape Architecture & Junior-Professorship for Cycle-Oriented Building