RADIUS
CCA Center for Contemporary Art and Ecology

About RADIUS

Do cartographers still know the extent to which the Arctic can be represented on a world globe, with polar ice caps increasingly melting? Does your sex life change alongside global warming and coinciding temperature rise, as is the case with sea animals? What pictograms should you developed to prevent future inhabitants of the Earth from opening an underground closed storage of nuclear waste? Losing land to sea, losing ice to the sun, losing animals to history: how do we deal with this new notion of ecological grief?*

RADIUS is a center for contemporary art and ecology. We are located in the city of Delft and stationed in the pump house and water basin belonging to the Delft water tower, a historical monument and architectural landmark. With five hundred square meters of subterranean exhibition space, our program is dedicated to the intersection of art, science and ecology. The name RADIUS is based on the circular geometry of our exhibition space. In a more poetic sense, the radius of each circle in our program serves to jointly develop a more grounded understanding of our shared living environment.

The compounded crisis of capitalism, sociopolitical unrest, environmental catastrophe and technological transformation is becoming increasingly pressing and tangible, simultaneously on a local level and on a planetary scale. In addition, the struggle for social emancipation—and the process of awareness-raising surrounding the oppression of certain social groups—is inextricably linked to the current ecological depression, re-drawing attention to the fragility of Earth and life itself. In our view, issues of decolonization and feminism cannot be separated from their interfaces with ecology. Within our program we approach this scheme by means of intersectional ecological thinking: a form of thinking through crossroads in which concerns are treated integrally.

We believe that artists have an essential role in identifying, critiquing and shaping the narrative around the climate and ecological degradation, not necessarily in aiding science with visible solutions but to pose moral and ethical questions around what it means to be alive today. In our program we thus welcome artists and other practitioners that rigorously approach urgent ecological challenges, including climate breakdown, pollution, biodiversity loss, environmental and social justice.

The art center’s location in Delft, with proximity to some of the world’s leading scientific institutions, provides an opportunity for us to focus on collaborations between disciplines. In addition to a continuous and accessible exhibition program, we offer an educational public program of lectures, performances, screenings, workshops and seminars, for a more specialized audience as well as for primary, secondary and higher education students.

* Paraphrased from the text Retreat coinciding with the research project by Xandra van der Eijk.

Architecture and History

RADIUS is located in the pump house with a water basin that was built in 1918-1919 adjacent to the water tower from 1895-1896. RADIUS is located on the site of the former municipal cemetery (1829-1874), the current Kalverbos, and is part of the protected cityscape of Delft. The water tower complex—consisting of a water tower, pump house and cwater basin—has been listed as a national monument since 2002.

The water tower was commissioned by the municipal water company, the N.V. Delftsche Duinwaterleiding Maatschappij, to provide drinking water. The pump house with a water basin, which is partly embedded in an overgrown hill at the rear of the building, was built in 1918-1919. The water was extracted from the dunes of Monster to the south of The Hague. The twenty-nine meter high water tower was built in a style related to the Neo-Dutch Renaissance, designed by the Delft municipal architect M.A.C. Hartman. You can visit the water tower; click here for further information and to book tickets.

RADIUS was founded in 2021 by Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk. The renovation and the renewed function of the building as an art center has been realized according to a design by the architectural firm DP6.