Living Landscape addresses Amsterdam

July 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

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From mid June to mid July in Amsterdam a landscape architectural ad campaign of sorts is addressing the Amsterdam public. The messages are intended to underscore the relevance of landscape architecture in dealing with issues that affect everyone. The project is one of the outcomes of the Living Landscape research group at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam, and the project is the brainchild of Marieke Timmermans, head of the department of landscape architecture.

The poster project was designed to inform the public about what landscape architects actually do as well as attract potential students to the field. Locations were selected that reinforce the strength of each poster by addressing a selected public.

At the Intratuin garden center:

DID YOU KNOW YOUR GARDEN IS A WILDLIFE HABITAT?  Landscape architects work to improve biodiversity.

At the Royal Artis Zoo:

ZIE JIJ DE BEESTJES IN DE STAD?  Landschapsarchitecten ontwerpen plekken voor natuur in de stad.

(Do you see all the animals in the city? Landscape architects design places for nature in cities.)

At the  Hortus Botanical Gardens:

PEOPLE NEED PLACES OF NATURAL BEAUTY.  Landscape architects design for the preservation of cultural heritage.

At the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture:

LANDSCAPE IS NOT JUST A PRETTY PICTURE.  Landscape architects design multifunctional landscapes.

At the Amsterdam Theatre School:

THE CITY IS YOUR STAGE: EXPRESS YOURSELF.  Landscape architects create spaces for people.

At Amsterdam City Hall:

PLANTING TREES IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.  Landscape architects design for green cities.

At Ijburg College:

LOSE WEIGHT THE GREEN WAY: GET OUTSIDE.  Landscape architects design for outdoor activity.

The posters feature the work ofthe following Amsterdam Academy of Architecture landscape students:

Eva Radianova, Marit Janse, Thijs de Zeeuw, Matt Colby, Niek Heijboer, Lisa Jeffrey, Milda Jusaite, Donald Marskamp, Joep Meijer, Judith van der Poel, Anna Sobiech, Katerina Tlachova, Inge Vleemingh, Gert-jan Wisse, Marijne Beenhakker, Jacques Abelman, Ramon Postma, Robbert Jongerius, Annelies Bloemendaal, Hannah Schubert, Marlies Rijken, Michiel van Zeijl, Simona Serafino

Living Landscape Exhibition: all over Amsterdam

June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Op 18 juni gaat op 10 locaties in Amsterdam de tentoonstelling ‘Living Landscape’ van start. De tentoonstelling met 9 posters en een video is een initiatief van de Academie van Bouwkunst. De posters tonen projecten van studenten van de masteropleiding Landschapsarchitectuur die zijn samengebracht rond verschillende actuele thema’s in het vakdebat.

De posters en de film zijn van 18 juni t/m 16 juli te bezichtigen op verschillende locaties in Amsterdam: Artis, De Hortus, het Stadhuis, het IJburg College, de Zuidas (Zuidplein), de Theaterschool, Intratuin oost, natuurspeeltuin Het Woeste Westen en de Academie van Bouwkunst. De video wordt dagelijks van 09.00 tot middernacht vertoond op het Zuidplein.

‘Did you know your food is a landscape?’ ‘Have you seen your local animals?’ ‘Landscape is not just a pretty picture.’ Elke poster draagt een boodschap uit die het publiek attent wil maken op de betekenis van het vakgebied voor onze leefomgeving. De posters tonen plannen in relatie tot klimaatverandering, natuur en milieu, biodiversiteit, gezondheid, voedselproductie en cultureel landschap.

De Academie van Bouwkunst beoogt met deze tentoonstelling het vak landschapsarchitectuur te promoten als een unieke ontwerpdiscipline die zich richt op een veelheid aan actuele thema’s in relatie tot landschap, natuur, agricultuur en klimaatveranderingen. Landschapsarchitecten van Nederlandse bodem werken over de hele wereld aan grote projecten en de Academie van Bouwkunst geniet daarbij groot aanzien.

Tijdstip en locatie
18 juni t/m 16 juli 2012 op tien locaties in Amsterdam. De posters worden afwisselend tentoongesteld in binnen- en buitenruimtes. Op sommige locaties is een regulier toegangsbewijs verplicht.

(text from Amsterdam Academy of Architecture website:

Building in the Landscape: Twente, The Netherlands

February 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Secondyear project led by architect Judith Korpershoek (

Een utopisch model voor een leefgemeenschap by Annelies Bloemendaal

Esch 2.0 by Esther Brun

The landscape of the province of Overijssel can be characterized as one of chambers and eschen. Historically the esch was used as a place for agricultural use. People used manure to enhance the fertility of the soil. During the day sheep would roam the heath lands. In the evening they returned to the barn where the manure could be collected to enrich the esch. Due to this process the esch became more and more prominent in the landscape as the soil raised higher and higher. Traditionally the esch is located between a few adjoining properties they were communally used for the growth of vegetables. The earlier mentioned chambers are formed by hedgerows and tree lanes which provided a natural barrier for the life stock.

The esch 2.0 embodies all elements of the traditional landscape; however they are combined and condensed into a rather compact landscape. The new and improved esch is placed on the fundaments of a historic esch. By doing this the landscape adjusts itself to modern needs. The design proposal exists of three new esches with each an individual function, all placed in a wide heater fields. Around this heather field a ribbon of trees is introduced to perform as a barrier between the new modern day production landscape and its surroundings. This also provides a natural barrier for the sheep. The two esches assigned as vegetable and herb garden are lined with a hedgerow and lay organically placed in the heather field. The esch in which the building is incorporated also provides for an orchard which is accessible for the sheep.

A wool felting artist and her family are full time residents of the esch. In this manner different generations live side by side on one property. Together they manage the creative company which focuses on the exchange of knowledge and art. The family keeps approximately 200 sheep, all for the benefit of the wool production used in the felting process. The wool is died according to a natural practice by the usage of plants and herbs. These plants have their own “chamber” on the esch 2.0 as well as the organic vegetable garden.

The family, guests and sheep al l find shelter in the centrally positioned esch. Here a new farmstead is introduced by the particular placement of building volumes only partially incorporated in the esch. On three locations emphasis is placed on higher points, these elements draw the courtyard together. Next to the entrance the first accent manifests itself; this part of the building is the gallery and workshop. On top there is a magnificent lookout point to oversee the entire esch 2.0. The second accent is formed by the restaurant that hovers above the ground giving way to a large (drinking) pond. The third is the sheep shed that slightly sticks out above the esch. This way the building is also recognizable from the landscape. The entire building is oriented on the court yard where people and animals gather. This stimulates the interaction between user and producer. The building represents the different stages between a community and the individual by the expression of the above mentioned accents.

Innofarm by Mathé van Kranenburg

The Innofarm comes from a counter-movement against the trend of agricultural Overijssel. The surface of this province consists of 71% agriculture and 14% nature area. The current issue of the province is beginning shrink by a decrease in agricultural population and a corresponding low score on innovation. This trend is partly explained by the small size of the typical ‘coulissen’ landscape (referring to the curtains of a theater) that has preserved in the great land consolidations in the rest of the Netherlands.

To stimulate innovation and growth of the agricultural potential the Innofarm is created, an experimental farm for crops, linked to agricultural education and research on (inter-) national scale. The size of a experimental farm with many different, small, trial fields fits perfect in the small-scale landscape of the region Twente.
The Innofarm is formed by a community that responds flexibly to the different needs of an experimental farm. There are three households permanently on the farm. Besides the permanent occupation there is room for four temporary homes, which meet the changing needs of farming and the educational part.

The building of the Innofarm accommodates the community. By combining all functions in a single building strengthens the link of the residents with the surrounding land and the farm. A shared inner space adds to the bond with the company and is the starting point for the activities. The building fits with his character and use of materials in the area with its many traditional farms. At the same time the building is modern and has its own style.

Glimpses of process: videos from the Lingestreek Project Workshops

February 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

These videos can all be watched on the youtube page of Living Landscape AvB:

New Landscapes for the Lingestreek

February 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

This rural landscape planning studio will bring together students, landscape researchers, and community members

to explore ways of increasing landscape identity and coherence in the Lingestreek, the area along the Linge River between Arnhem and Rhenen, south of the Rhine and north of the A15. Here a traditional landscape of large dairy farms is being replaced by new modes of production based on large-scale orchard
and tree production. This has brought rapid changes to both landscape structure and rural lifeways; as yet, however, no coherent landscape narrative has emerged in response to this transformation.

Students will address this lack of coherence by designing landscape changes that provide a more legible environment for both residents and visitors, one in which the complex formal and functional relationships between global networks and local places are made explicit and visible. This will mean increasing landscape legibility and regional ‘branding’ in creative ways that begin to resolve the tension between local traditions and history, on one hand, and integration with global commodity chains, on the other. The ultimate goal of the studio is to show the lineaments of a living rural landscape for the twenty-first century, one that is economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable in the long term.

The following slideshow shows the first site visit in February. The class was able to meet with and hear the different perspectives of farmers, local political representatives working for the municipality, as well as nature conservancy and maintenance groups.

Thomas Oles, Lecturer of Landscape, AvB
Roelf de Boer, Agrarische Natuur Vereniging Lingestreek; Maike van Stiphout, DS Landschapsarchitecten; Jørgen Primdahl, University of Copenhagen; Marieke Timmermans, Head of Landscape, AvB Amsterdam, Jacques Abelman, Living Landscape Research Group Assistant

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Exploring the Daugava River in Latvia

February 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Currently in Latvia the average annual income is € 3214.00 per inhabitant. The situation is challenging and the future uncertain. Creating viable futures will require strong vision and constructive interventions through time that also function on a larger scale.

The Daugava River and its environment are central to this task. This river (total length of 1,020 km) which originates in Russia has been the main trade route between Latvia and the East since time immemorial. It is also known as “the river of fate.”  The task of the design studio will be to create a new destiny that will offer a new perspective, where the landscape will serve as an economic engine.

2nd year studio project with teacher Joyce van den Berg   (

Welcome to the Daugava by Esther Brun

Welcome to the Daugava-Kolchoz experience.

This trail has been created to provide you with a unique experience of Latvia’s culture and history placed in a idyllic landscape setting. The trail leads along the Daugava river that was once an important waterway for transport. Today the river has a role of different importance; it generates power. Three huge dames were created during the communistic domination of Russia creating large lakes at each dame.

The total route stretches out over approximately 295 km but it is also segregated in four separate routes differing in length. You can start your hike at any given point along the north side of the Daugava as this side is best accessible by train departing from Riga. Starting points are: Ogre, Kegums, Auziskraukle , Koknese and Jekapils.

The trail leads you during the day across rural Latvia, along fields and panoramic views over the Daugava river. The nights you spend in former Kolchozen; Russian industrial farms from the soviet era. These huge landmarks that stand as silent witnesses in Latvia’s landscape have been retrofitted for diverse functions. Once they were remnants of a negative inheritance; today they provide employment and education to the local people. At these Kolchozen you get a unique opportunity to interact with the locals and learn about Latvia and its history first hand. For each Kolchoz a different function has been selected, suitable for the local population and interesting to you as a visitor. You get the opportunity to see craftsmen at work, visit a market with traditional foods and goods or have a fresh brew pint at the new organic brewery.

The trail is recognizable by its custom-made path of concrete slabs with Lielvarde pattern relief and handcrafted poles that make sure the route is also identifiable in wintertime. Along the trail birch trees have been planted to create a ribbon thru the landscape. In total four different types of birch trees have been selected each with a specific purpose and meaning. The basis of the ribbon is composed of Betula pubescens. Sometimes the trail needs a focus point- this is provided by the use of the Betula papyrifea which can reach between the 20 and 25 meters in height. Leading up to the Kolchozen the ribbon tightens into a lane. Around the kolkhoz, Betula Ermanii “blush” will be planted to connect these hubs of activity and social interaction to the trail. In the country side Betula Nigra is added around private estates to emphasize the small residencies but also to provide for privacy.

You can choose to commence this trip at any time during the year, as it is also accessible during the winter and perfect for cross-country skiing.

Make sure to collect all your marks along the trail this will enable you to pick up a special patch for your backpack at your finish point. Marks can be collected by tracing over the relief into your trail guide.

REPEAT by Esther van der Tuin


Latvia is an amazing country with a long history and a rich culture. But it has also a history full of war and domination. The last occupation by the USSR, changed the river Daugava and the surrounded landscape visibly. The marks the USSR left in the landscape still have their influence:

– Cultural sites, recreation and nature have been destroyed because of the biggest hydraulic power plant of the EU, which made the water level of the Daugava rise with 40 meters.

– A lot of raw materials have been extracted and land drained because of the higher water level of the Daugava.

– The area is not profitable enough as agricultural land and is practically abandoned.

By transforming the agricultural land back into peat land, culture and traditions will be gently restored step by step.  The marks will become chances to transform this area into a valuable productive landscape. When the peat district is ready for production, the wounds of the USSR will be vanished and the reclamation will bring up at least 350 mln. LvL (430 mln. euro), that would be 5 mln. LvL a year till the peat has reached its final stage.

The location of the peat districts is based on the position of former peat lands.  The shape is extracted from the measurement that the USSR used for production land.

The slow development of peat creates a valuable divers nature and recreational landscape that will return the Latvian identity to this one so- loved area by the Latvians.

Grow in Time by Evelien de Mey


The ARCHIPEL of the Baltic States by Frank Zuilekom


Biking Plavinu by Mathé van Kranenburg

The Daugava river forms the main corridor in Latvia. Along the Daugava the country is the most densely populated, the most important infrastructural connections follow the river. Because of the river a lot of productional farmlands and woodlands are developed along the banks. The River itself turned into the most important electricity source for the country.

In the cities and villages along the Daugava a lot of the culture heritage of the country is kept. There are a lot of possibilities for tourism in the area. However, the development of tourism is hold back by the current lack of adequate infrastructure and tourism marketing: lacking is operationally up-to-date information on accommodation, tourist sites, active recreation possibilities and services.

The project Biking Plavinu is a touristic biking route which leads through the natural landscape of the Daugava river and villages with typical Latvian cultural elements. The route is part of a large scale biking-route system along the Daugava river. By connection the culture and landscape of the area around Plavinu reservoir tourists are being able to experience the true historical and actual Latvia.

The start point of the route is Aizkraukle, which is acces­sible by train, highway and the connection bike routes along the Daugava. From this town the route leads you in five hours over the biggest dam in the Daugava, over the highest point of the region, through the historical village of Sece. After this through the lowlands of Secene to the Staburags rock memorial, along the Daugava to ‘Liktendarz’ memorial island and in-between point Koknese (3 hour trip), which also has possibilities to stay the night and is also accessible by train or highway.

In Koknese there are several churches but main attractor is the Castle ruins and the park. The route continues through typical Latvian farmlands and the Kaplava orthodox church back to Aizkraukle in which you can find a lot of museums, churches and cultural elements.

The (un)conditional garden: master’s project by Thijs de Zeeuw

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

The (un)conditional garden: Urban biodiverstiy in Artis

“About 60 percent of Dutch flora and fauna is present in urban or semi-urban areas. Yet still Dutch policy on nature is based on the contro­versy of the city versus nature, which divides both in to two separate worlds.”

“In the Artis, the Amsterdam zoo, nature conservation has been founded in 1905 with the establishment of Natuurmonumenten. More than hundred years later the time is there to take a new step in nature conservation The changed relation between man and its surround­ings demands for a new -or extended- vision on nature.

The main shift compared to the traditional nature idea is the disengagement of ecological value and its common landscape images. Surely for plants and animals it does not matter how the ecosystem exactly looks like. As long as the system answers their basic necessities of life. For instance, the common tern (Sterna hirundo) likes the vast pebbled rooftops of an industrial area just as much as the pebble beaches in the coastal areas.

The design for The (un)conditional garden searches for a new form to reveal the ecological wealth of the urban environment. On the exist­ing carpark of the zoo, a new parking garage will be build. The roof will be the base for the eventual design. The garden will be part of the urban ecological system and opposed to the other animals in Artis the inhabitants of the garden are free to migrate in and out of the zoo. For the visitor though the garden is an extension of the zoo and adds up to the Museum of Biodiversity the Artis is developing right now.

Parallel to the design work an experiment has been performed. On an urban wasteland basic soil conditions have been altered to monitor their ecological and visual potentials. After all the conditions are just a tool to compose an urban natural landscape with. Within a year the different plots showed characteristic differences, especially in image.

The findings have influenced the design process and have resulted in a design that reflects and exhibits the richness of urban ecology. A grid resulting from the architecture of the parking garage creates a landscape of containers in which a variety of conditions result in a wide range of niches (both outside and inside the garage). The grid does not just expresses the urban design aspect but also refers to the scien­tific monitoring standards in field biology.

A diverting walkway will lead the visitor through the garden, sometimes elevated, (even inside, high above the parked cars to approach the resting areas of the different bat species) sometimes lowered incised in the containers bringing the eye of the visitor to ground level.

The result is an educational garden that acknowledges the city as a valuable landscape and is thus an expression of a new nature optimism.”