IJmuiden Fish Market

Through our initial group research, it was determined that IJmuiden is a fragmented town, heavily defined by its distinctive identities. The boundaries of these atmospheric zones has indivertibly created an in-between space of little or no identity. It is here that the IJmuiden Fish Market is located; on the threshold between where the residents of the city work and live, and the more cherished locations IJmuiden, the beach, marina and sand dunes.

The Market seeks to create a new meeting place for residents and tourists, redeveloping the existing connections to the much decayed Bunker Museum and creating vistas out towards the beach in the west, the steel industry of the north and dunescape in the south. The proposal seeks out to repurpose an existing bunker, a relic of IJmuiden’s past, into a marketplace for future generations, a relic of the future. The market will promote sustainable methods of food production, water harvesting and filtration and fish cultivation in an effort to combat IJmuiden’s lack of urban farming and general market space.

The Market is a temple to water. Sitting at the highest peak of IJmuiden, the structure towers above its surrounding context. It is a beacon that orientates the individual of IJmuiden.

IJmuiden has a beautiful relationship with water. It was the building of the canal connecting to Amsterdam that gave birth to the city. Its rich fishing industry post World War II sustained the towns economy in times of trouble. The TATA steel industry and of late its heavily promoted recreational sports industry also engages with the use of water. This strong affinity should be celebrated. The marketplace is designed for future use, sustainable methods of horticulture and aquaponics are reliant on water, in this case, rainwater harvested in the buildings structure.

The threshold of IJmuiden is defined by the Atlantik Wall. A city defined by its past, IJmuiden has remained undeveloped and neglected for decades. Promoting new sustainable food technologies encourages a future use for the city. A continuation of the Atlantik Wall is addressed at a macro scale. A connection both physically and visually ties the bunkers of the past, with the bunkers of the future. The backdrop of the wind farm reinforces the designs ecological intention.

An existing trench lies between the Bunker Museum and the site of the market. This forms one of the primary entrance routes up to the summit. The trench´s datum rises and falls with the contour of the land. The Market on approach flickers in and out of view. Landscaped walkways on the southern and eastern faces of the large mound also navigate visitors to the top. One can wander between the droves of planted seasonal vegetables raked across the hill. When tanks have exceeded their full capacity, water is channelled down the slope to irrigate said plants.


COLLECT – Rainwater is collected at the top of the water tower and passed down the system through a upstanding pipe.

DRY – Herb species and fish can be hung in the lofted ventilated space to aid the drying process.

HARVEST – Greywater collected in the roof is stored in large vacuum formed water tanks. Water is retained in summer months.

FILTER – Unfiltered water is passed through sedimentation and a planted gravel filter to remove impurities. The water is rich with nutrients at this stage.

GROW – Filtered water from the sump tank is passed through drip box planters to consummate vegetable growth.

CULTIVATE – Filtered water is passed through to the aquaponic tank where rich nutrients are exchanged for ammonia nitrates to aid fish production and in turn vegetable growth.

IRRIGATE – Excess water is stored in a large tray and filtered down the slope to promote on site horticulture.

The root of the design stems from its detail. The water towers are constructed using CNC milled pine wood. There are twelve battens of three variations. These are assembled together by hand and bolted for extra support. This forms the primary construction method. One of these units can be put together in a matter of minutes. This is repeated to form the building blocks of the construction process. This timber cube is used to hang and dry herbs, suspend the water tanks in place, hold planter boxes to engage in food production, act as market stalls and be the basis of outdoor furniture design.

The main market space is located below grade with the existing bunker walls providing its shell. The existing bunker was currently buried in and disused. It was decided to retain parts of the existing concrete structure, but removing its lid and using this excess concrete in the landscaping of terraces. The three water towers sit on the periphery of the shelled out bunker, each of them sitting on their own concrete pad foundations. The timber cubes are bolted together with steel fins pinning the structure to the ground. Visitors can explore the fish tanks at the upper level and gain an understanding of the processes involved with on-site food production. Maintenance levels higher up are restricted to employees of the market. Balconies perch over the market space encouraging interaction at the two levels.

A terraced area connects the two levels together. An ideal place to sit and have lunch. The bunker provides the protection for the open air market. While the towers form gateways and frames IJmuiden’s horizons.

Vacuum formed tanks are suspended in the timber structure and are held into place by high density fishing thread. The tanks can be easily removed, cleaned and replaced through low-tech principles. Hose pipes connect the tanks together. Water flow can be controlled and gauged by adjustable hozelocks. The pine timber frame maximises transparency. The gridded structure creates windows that celebrate the beauty of IJmuiden. In these timber units drip planter boxes are placed. These create large growing walls that form the facades of this otherwise completely open structure.

The construction system implemented in the water towers is replicated to form the skin of the market at the lower level. Fresh, fruit, vegetables and fish line the walls, while mushrooms are grown in the floor where it is darker. The floor can be easily removed to access content. The structure is pinned to the walls of the concrete bunker for added stability. Gabian wall style construction also inherits the timber frame construction. Concrete rubble is used as infill and defines the retaining terraces.