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Andrew van Egmond

Anticipating the landscape | Schoorl

This special garden embraces a fascinating house in the poetic landscape of Schoorl. The house was designed by Dutch architect Paul de Ruiter. The plot is located in the landscape behind the wide dune in Schoorl. You feel the suggestion of the endless horizon that lies behind the high dune edge.

The special garden embraces a special home in the poetic landscape of Schoorl. The lot is located in the coulisse landscape behind the wide dune zone in Schoorl. 5 kilometers away is the sea, but you feel the suggestion of the infinite horizon hidden behind the high dune edge.

The place has an almost un-Dutch feel to it. The height of the dune gives the experience of a hilly landscape. And the light of the sun poking across the dark forest fa├žade on the high dune in the evening gives a magical experience that lights up any scenic room.

This garden is also in such a room. The only house in the area, it is located on a mound. From the kitchen and living room, you are literally lifted above the landscape.

The link to the landscape is, of course, again an important one in this work. From the house, long sight lines, garden backdrops, twists in orientation and the effect of light and dark create a strong connection to the surrounding landscape.

Looking from the living room, the garden does not stop at the property boundary, but runs naturally into the meadow next door. The only separation is a narrow ditch with an alder here and there.

The distinctive alder forest extends into the forest of the neighboring lot, without any property boundary.

What makes this garden even more special is that it lies on a subtle landscape transition from the higher sandy soils to the lower moors, which are part of the hinterland.

Some vegetation grew on the slightly higher and drier part, but characteristically an alder forest developed in the lower, wetter part. This transition was visible and experienceable on the lot, but not very strong.

This story in the landscape has been activated and enhanced in the design. A prominent diagonal line marks the forest line and further twists your orientation to the surrounding landscape. This diagonal line in the design also makes the garden seem even larger than it already is.

A sleek long steel line marks the difference in height and the transition from lawn (read: meadow) and the forest section. The long wall consists of a solid block, which seems to subtly float above the forest floor. Sophistication in these kinds of firm and powerful gestures is crucial. In this case, the sophistication is in the light floating of the overall object and particularly in the characteristic sandblasted graphics designed by Studio BLAD.

This drawing suggests movement and refers to the movement of sand bodies in the dunes and close to the sea. The drawing is also reflected in the retaining wall along the driveway.

In the composite of long clean lines and grand gestures, the contrast with lush nature was sought again and again.

The sleek gestures are loose in space, the greenery runs all around or the lines cut through the green cushions or through the play of trunks in the alder forest. Never are the solid gestures of concrete, wood or steel with the house. This keeps the house free in the landscape and the composition of the garden does not detract from the strength of the architecture of the house.

The materialization is solid but refined. Lots of concrete with subtle finishing and processing that ages beautifully. Wood that ages and blends into the alder forest. And sleek steel lines cutting through the garden. The steel lines are sharp gestures that accommodate height differences and enhance contrast between nature and architecture. They are coated black, the same color as the steel in the house. Thus, the garden only interacts with the house in a subtle way.

As mentioned, the entire house is elevated above the landscape and sits on a mound. The house almost detaches from its surroundings. This suggestion of detachment was enhanced by setting almost the entire house in a field of grasses. The monolith of black steel, black stained wood and large mirrored windows that take in the sky is set in a soft cushion of ornamental grasses that constantly changes color, texture and volume through the season and catches the weather. Filtered light in the evening, the dew in the early morning, the wind on a stormy day and the hoarfrost in winter. They are captured in this field of grasses and tell you a poetic story of being part of the landscape.

Courtesy of Studio BLAD

Winner of the LILA awards 2020 | Ex Aequo Winner in Gardens category

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