Trenches for Peace
Oirschot, NetherlandsWar and peace on the Oirschot Heath
The Dutch armed forces are committed to peace. Almost nowhere this paradox can be witnessed clearer than on the Oirschotse Heide, where spectacular military exercises take place above publicly accessible moors. The Trenches of Peace by Studio Marco Vermeulen emphasizes this paradox by offering a view of the military spectacle from a trench in the shape of a peace sign.
If these walls were to be made of concrete in the traditional way, it would be very difficult to achieve precisely this texture. In addition, a lot of CO2 would be emitted. This not only happens as a result of the chemical reaction with which cement is made, but also due to all transport movements and processing of the heavy conventional materials. The contribution of the concrete material to the greenhouse effect is therefore considerable.
That is why a new technique has been chosen, called Microbially Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation (MICP). With this technique, the soil material (sand) present is hardened on site with the help of existing soil bacteria. Under the right conditions, these bacteria can make their own natural cement, in the form of calcite. This is a mineral that is very common in nature. Limestone, for example, consists largely of calcite, and sandstone often consists of sand grains cemented by calcite. Calcite is very stable under natural soil conditions. It does not "decay" and is virtually insoluble in natural groundwater. Calcite deposits on the grains of sand and binds them together. This stabilizes the soil, and with it the retaining walls of the trench are constructed.
An additional advantage is that no CO2 is emitted during the formation of this material, but that CO2 is actually absorbed and deposited in the retaining walls. The material therefore does not contribute to the greenhouse effect, but (even if only a small amount in the case of the trench) to the solution thereof.
In addition, much less radical soil work is required as would be the case if concrete is used. In this way the natural soil layers in the peace sign to be excavated remain visible. By excavating the trench in this way, the walls retain the roughness of a trench dug by hand: a military object with a public and recreational function.
shelter against the spectacle of violence in the service of peace
The Old Tower