Janson . Maatkamp . Wijnakker . Looman

Envisioning Baucis . Europan 11 . Almere

design team: Olaf Janson . Joost Maatkamp . Rens Wijnakker . Koen Looman

The assignment was to design an unusual and unique building that can first serve as an eye catching information centre or cultural pavilion and can subsequently be “reused” as a detached house in the wood.

This building should therefore be demountable. A building on piles is envisaged. The timber used should be sourced locally as far as this is possible. The study assignment is a landscape design for the already existent woods with extra focus on the new water system to be constructed and, in particular, the way in which the “woodlands” in this wood can be developed.

On the location you will find a young but generally full-grown forest with traces of its recent history. The sound of the meandering brook is essential for its genius loci.The curious history of this place consists of being sea only half a century ago. Halfway the 20th century this land came into existence with the realisation of the Flevopolder.The location for the development of southern wooded area of DUIN was during the 80s in use for recreational purposes. After being left alone for several years the landscape transformed in to lush space of flora and fauna.
With the construction of DUIN a new era is dawning. The newly formed dunes will have a major impact on the ecology and landscape of the location. With the ambition of turning the forest into a residential area a strategy has to be formed that makes this possible, while keeping the current qualities and characteristics of the location.
The key is to develop a strategy witch incorporates means that create both reclamation as well as respectful distance to the present landscape and its future development.The new buildings and their basis infrastructure should have a minimal impact on the existing nature and its growth. Inspired by Calvino, a residential area will be created where dwelling will take place while giving place to the roughness of nature.
The open polder landscape will be transformed into its opposite: a lush creek valley.The existing, artificial creek is expanded to a brook system with upper- and middle
stream flows. From the sky, it looks like a mini-river system, with large meanders creating different biotopes, higher and dryer forests, bushes and open spaces.
People that move in here will live with nature, and, respectful to the earth, the neighbourhood will only slightly contact the soil.The human world will be elevated on a system of piles. This artificial grid adds contrast to the area; the human layer will be strongly recognisable.
On the grid, people can build their houses.The independent structure of the grid regarding to the landscape raises the opportunity to live on very special, almost un-Dutch locations. Buildings can be allocated half above the creek, where different flows come together; or in the forest.The grid is a rigid base for a free structure of the neighbourhood.The plan has no common allotment. Inhabitants can for instance buy a set of piles, which determines the plot size.This urban concept fits strongly to the idea of free architecture.
There is only one prescription: no use of heavy materials and machinery is allowed.The area will grow in silence, and the top soil layer will not be disturbed or pushed together. People will have to build their houses almost by hand.

Envisioning Baucis was designed by a multidisciplinary team consisting of:
Olaf Janson MSc, architect
Joost Maatkamp MSc, architect
Rens Wijnakker MSc, landscape architect
Koen Looman BSc, building engineer

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