‘Polishing a pearl’
Twickel, whose history goes back to the fourteenth century, is the largest estate in the Netherlands. In line with Michael van Gessel’s master plan, our practice has drawn up a renovation plan for the Overpark, based on respect for the historical park design and adjustment to the new circumstances. We have made this country estate ready for the future by devising a design that links its unique history with the current challenges.
The Twickel gardens have been laid out by several generations since the seventeenth century. The Huispark with pools was created at the end of the eighteenth century. A formal garden with topiary in taxus and buxus was laid out next to the castle around 1900. Around 1835 the early landscape park was redesigned by J.D. Zocher, who made the lines of paths and pools more flowing and conferred its present form on the central area of the park. This was also when the lake was made behind the castle. The German landscape architect C.E.A. Petzold extended Zocher’s landscape park in the period 1885-1891. In front of the castle he planted groups of trees to form a corridor that affords views of the surrounding meadows.
The landscape architect Michael van Gessel was involved in the renovation of the Twickel park from the late 1990s to the beginning of 2015. He drew up a master plan and elaborated it for the Huispark, whose renovation has now been completed. In the Overpark, on the other hand, there has been no major renovation since Petzold’s design of more than a century ago. In the course of that century some trees have disappeared or died, new ones have been planted here and there, and the Delden ring road has been constructed, all leading to a departure from the original plan. Bridges and items of furniture are also dilapidated. So the time has come for a thorough renovation.
In line with Michael van Gessel’s master plan, our practice has drawn up a renovation plan for the Overpark, based on respect for the historical park design, adjustment to the new circumstances, and a focus on present and future use. Petzold tried to bring about a stronger connection between the Huispark and the Overpark, and the renovation plan follows his intentions. The Overpark, which has become overgrown at many points, will be opened up again, with the renewal of groups of trees and the addition of others here and there. To achieve greater cohesion between the different parts of the Overpark, an elongated open space has been created in the woodland to connect the open area in front of the castle with the woodland by means of a beautifully curved space. Ageing trees are felled to make way for many new ones. Vertical vegetation running parallel to the ring road has been removed to restore the visual axis between the estate and Delden.
A splendid conclusion of the Twickelervaart has been designed in the Carelshaven in the form of a lake. We have also designed seven new pedestrian bridges: six in Overpark and one over the ring road to reinforce the connection between Twickel and Delden. The Overpark should be able to survive the next 100 years in this condition.
‘Country estates and rural villas are the pearls in the landscape of the Netherlands. In a rapidly changing urban and rural context, they are outstanding havens of calm, beauty and refinement. We help owners to bring out their historical qualities more. We restore and renovate, help them to devise financial models, incorporate new functions and increase biodiversity. We add contemporary design layers to the park designs of our predecessors, naturally with a view to preserving the coherence of the residence with its grounds, park and landscape. We also design garden ornaments: bridges, furniture, borders, fences, gateways and other architectural features.’