IAFD x Fort 1881: Dropping Defence

Dropping Defence is a “design by research” project initiated by the Fort 1881 and the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK). 27 fourth-year students of the Interior Architecture and Furniture Design department reinterpreted the sustainable, autarkic character of the fortress - a National Historic Landmark -, unlocking it to visitors and surroundings.

About the Fort 1881

Fort 1881 is a 19th-century fortress guarding the entrance to the Nieuwe-Waterweg-canal and the harbor of Rotterdam. It is one of the four fortifications of this kind in the Netherlands. Currently, Fort 1881 is a private enterprise focused on the fortress' original self-sufficient character regarding energy, water, and food as a means to sustainable exploitation.

Spatial specifications
Fortress surface: approximately 7,000 m²
Site surface: 13,000 m2
107 rooms interconnected with a system of corridors of 3 km in total


concept by Joyce Bakker

The KABK-student's reinterpretation of the fortress consists of six connected designs for the interior, exterior and site. The students thus proposed spatial and site-specific interventions that increase the accessibility of Fort 1881 to the public, while referring to the historical military defence structure. They explored alternatives for the current wall and the site's routing in the context of the original military installations and tactics.

Concrete objects as an alternative to the current fence - fort 1818
concept by Vlada Naletkina

One of the designs suggests lower size concrete objects as a possible substitute for the current fence. The form of these objects derives from the pyramid-shaped concrete barriers -the so-called dragon's teeth-, that were used in World War II, to keep tanks at a distance. Other designs explore and reinterpret the self-sufficient characteristics of the Fort.

Exhibition & workshops

During the one-day event Dropping Defence taking place on Wednesday 18 December 2019 at Fort 1881, the students present these plans to the public. The workshops in and around the Fort during the event are suitable for children and families. On the same day, an exhibition presenting the students' design research will be presented to the public.

After the opening event the exhibition will be on view until 19 January 2020 during the opening hours of Fort 1881.

Participating students:

Miriam Asghdom
Jihoon Baek
Joyce Bakker
Mila Baumann
Laura Bosch
Clementine Boucher
Jeanne Bréard
Lilla Eördögh
Lisa Hens
Max von Igel
Esme Kim
Agathe de Klerk
Menthe de Kloe
Daria Kozhina
Kalina Lambreva
Yen Lê
Belle Lê
Mindy Li
Jinzi Liu
Agathe Lunel
Violet Luu
Vlada Naletkina
Naira Nigrelli
Cristina Palicari
Naomi Rossignol
Thijs de Weerd
Frank Yoon


Frank Bruggeman
Maartje Lammers
Ernie Mellegers