Brandes en Meurs Were Announced As The Winners Of Schiphol Airport’s Design Competition To ‘Create A Barrier Of Silence’

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Brandes en Meurs’ ‘Dobber’ concept has received first prize within the category for design agencies at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s international design competition ‘Create a Barrier of Silence’.

The goal of the competition was to find a way to reduce low frequency noise pollution emitted by aircraft during take-off at Schiphol’s Polder runway.

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The ‘Dobber’ concept is in line with both the long-lived Dutch fascination with wind and water as well as today’s need for sustainable solutions. It can be best described as a floating dynamic sound barrier that changes between a flat and an upright position by manipulation of buoyancy and balance. This is done by adding or removing water ballast to and from the floating structure.

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Compared to a static barrier, ‘Dobber’ can be located much closer to the source of the sound enabling effective noise reduction while consuming minimal of materials and space. By letting it float on the water and allowing it to wave frequently with gusts of wind, the construction can be kept light and deep foundation becomes unnecessary. Photovoltaic cells on the upper surface are expected to produce more than three times as much energy as the system consumes, making it a net energy producer. Finally the water basin in which the barrier floats contributes to the much needed water storage capacity in the area.

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When sound reduction is necessary eight large water pumps fill ballast tanks inside the barrier’s structure. This changes the centre of gravity causing the structure to stand up. It takes up to four minutes for all 103 sections of the wall to rise to a height of 13 meters above ground level. When sound reduction is not necessary the water inside the ballast tanks is released through exhaust valves causing ‘Dobber’ to rotate towards the flat position again. Finally the screen is almost invisible in the landscape, the waterway is covered and all heavy components are at least half a meter below ground level. In this regard there is compliance with all requirements of flight safety concerning landing aircraft.

The barrier will be installed on the edge of developments located alongside the Polder runway.

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From the organisators:

‘On January, 23 2009, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has announced the winner of the ‘Create a Barrier of Silence’ design competition. The winning design for an innovative noise-reduction facility at Runway 18R-36L is the ‘Ecobarrier’ submitted by Toine van Goethem. Of all entries, the Ecobarrier achieved the highest scores in terms of sustainability, innovation and noise reduction. Toine van Goethem submitted his design in the category of universities and private individuals. The winning entry in the design agencies category is the ‘Dobber’ by Brandes en Meurs, and in the business category ‘Elevation’, a design by Arup, Dura Vermeer and ONL, carried off first prize. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol received a total of 97 entries from 17 countries around the world, including China, Japan, New Zealand, the United States and several European countries.

Competition
In April 2008 Amsterdam Airport Schiphol launched an international design competition for a new noise-reduction facility at Runway 18L-36R (the Polder runway). Schiphol invited educational institutions, private individuals, design agencies and businesses to present an innovative solution for the complex problem of ground noise in Hoofddorp-Noord, produced by aircraft taking off from the Polder runway. The winning project has earned its designer a cash prize of € 750,000 (€ 250,000 as category winner and € 500,000 for the overall winning design). The two other category winners received € 250,000 each.

Ecobarrier
A clear majority of the jury selected the Ecobarrier as the best design. ‘The attractions of the Ecobarrier include its simplicity and its innovative and dynamic character,’ said jury chairman and President of Schiphol Group Jos Nijhuis. ‘On top of that, the Ecobarrier contains several sustainability features, including algae cultivation and bio-fermentation, and fits well into the landscape.’

Building preparation work can begin once the zoning scheme has been approved and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands has performed the statutory design tests.’




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