As an autonomous monumental sculpture, Waterline Monument is the winning selection in a competition by the Province of Utrecht for a contemporary artwork in honor of the New Dutch Waterline. This was a historic defense line measuring 85 kilometers in length. An ingenious system of dikes, sluices, canals, forts and bunkers, capable of creating deliberate floods, was used in the period between 1815 and 1940. The Waterline made it possible to flood kilometers of land in the west of the Netherlands, thus making the area inaccessible to the enemy.
The monument is inspired by the architectural form of a lock. This technical brick construction is one of the crucial elements in the mostly hidden Waterline system. It functions as a gate to the water, making it possible to control the water or instead flood the area between the embankments. While the Waterline locks are embedded in the slopes of the embankments, the Waterline Monument instead is positioned prominently on top of a slope next to the motorway that runs through the area.
The monument looks massive when seen from an angle. Approached frontally, however, it features three arches and appears as a gateway. The structure is conceived as a stack of weathered metal tubes, allowing some degree of transparency when approached from an axial perspective.
Enhanced by its position perpendicular to the motorway, the monument playfully alters perception as one passes by. Similar to a lock, this standalone structure alternates between being open and transparent, and then transforming into a closed, massive volume.
Province of Utrecht
Laagraven, Utrecht (NL)