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.


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