Felixx believes a better world requires a better organization of our environment.
Felixx Landscape Architects and Planners is a Rotterdam-based office for proactive landscape architecture, founded in 2014. We specialize in addressing urgent global challenges with local embedded design solutions. Our work has a broad international scope and our projects range from spatial research, landscape transformation strategies and developing masterplans, to public space and product design. The office is named after our self-invented modest hero Felixx, who travels the world looking for opportunities to realize happy environments.
The central role of our research team has been a fundamental choice early in the development of our office. Designers and researchers together develop connecting spatial concepts that link knowledge of the current functioning of our environment to its future performance. We apply this working method at all scale levels, from master plan to landscape to detail.
High performance landscapes
We engineer ánd design landscapes, maximizing environmental impact by creating powerful places. Our environment is facing increasing pressure: from adapting to shifting climate conditions, facilitating migration movements, anticipating on water- and flood problems, moving towards clean energy production and improving biodiversity, to recalibrating the organization of both urban and rural areas. These demands force us to shift from monofunctional towards complex hybrid landscapes: uniting scenic experiences with intelligent systems.
A deep understanding of the tasks and potentials of existing conditions results in generous concepts for the future of these places. Diverse social and environmental strategies can profitably be connected by spatial concepts that establish hierarchy and prioritization so we can create collaborative and inclusive environments – ‘spatial stories’ – that generate enthusiasm and commitment.
Our projects result from an interdisciplinary effort and an intensive process with clients and partners. We combine engagement in strategic research with delivering captivating built works. This enables us to bring theoretical models and new techniques into practice, realizing innovation by turning ground-breaking ideas into feasible plans and powerful landscapes that people embrace.
We help cities adapt to climate change and become more environmentally, socially, and economically resilient. We use our knowledge of nature-based solutions to design urban landscapes that deliver strong ecosystem services and many additional benefits. Our landscapes reduce urban heat-island effect; enhance local and regional biodiversity; clean air, and provide places to play, contemplate, be productive and above all, stay healthy, happy and connected to other people.
Dapeng is a mountainous peninsula with lush forests, intersected by riverbeds and creeks, connected to the sea with fantastic sand beaches and impressive rockeries. It offers an extraordinary green environment in the vicinity of Hongkong and Shenzhen. Along the shore, several small villages originate from fishing communities. In 2018, the typhoon Mangkhut damaged the coastline of Dapeng. In 2019, we were selected to restore the coastline and raise protection standards.
Our team developed a triple dike strategy that moves away from a generic protection wall and instead creates three development zones, that respond to current conditions and specific future needs of every area. The outer dike zone increases resiliency through wave attenuation and the enhancement of sedimentation. The middle dike is an elevated embankment, to stop the storm surge. The inner dike is a hybrid structure that manages the rainwater following the principle of a sponge city. All runoff from adjacent villages and mountains is buffered, delayed and temporarily stored here.
The application of the triple dike strategy provides all coastal communities with a framework to enhance their existing qualities while unlocking potential for growth. The small-scale identity of the villages is protected by development within the existing boundaries. Each village’s specific character is strengthened to amplify the rich variation of recreational facilities.
The 20th century was without a doubt the century of the automobile. The pursuit of speed and individual freedom has led to a spatial layout which follows the logic of the car. Cities are still largely organized to get from A to B as quickly and efficiently as possible. Moving away from this car-oriented layout our research proposes a method to transform an infrastructure network into a functional experiential landscape, the walkable city.
Walking may not be the fastest, or the most comfortable way to get around, but it is the only type of movement that doesn’t require a vehicle. By walking more, we limit our impact on the environment. As a result, creating room for walking frees up space in the city, that can be used to tackle diverse social and environmental challenges. The pedestrian is often forgotten in the design of our public spaces. This research project provides insight into the potential benefits of walking, and identifies the design tasks within our built environment to realize these benefits.
Currently, due to corona, people are more depending on the available green in their direct environment. A walkable city where the journey is as important as the destination, recognizes this dependency and shifting focus. The walkable city as proposed in our research, shares a design brief with that of a sustainable and healthy city that improves health, climate adaptation and social inclusivity within our cities.
Alpen is a municipality in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Unlike many other villages, Alpen has a vibrant business community. It is very well connected to main infrastructures and situated in a beautiful rural environment. To fight the challenges of rural shrinkage, these qualities have to be sustained in order to provide qualitative living conditions, motivating young families to settle in Alpen. Transforming the center into a more urban variant of itself has proved to be a common but insufficient strategy to achieve this. Therefore we moved the focus from the center to the entire community: not one compact transformation, but a large set of acupunctural interventions and measures.
Felixx developed 3 strategies to preserve the current economic conditions, strengthen the social facilities and improve the ecological performance of the village. The first strategy creates a characteristic village road for shops and commercial functions. The second strategy unites all existing landscapes within and around the village, creating an active green belt. The third strategy transforms the center of the village into a communal living room. The 3 strategies are divided into 9 projects.
In 2020, the first project is the ‘Neue Mitte’, has been realized. The entire area is paved with a shared space carpet. Inlayed flower patterns animate the specific spaces. Custom-made furniture elements are designed as scaled up living room elements.
Currently Amstel III district in Amsterdam is a monofunctional business district. The area will be transformed into a lively, mixed-use, climate resilient district with improved social and economic conditions. Our strategic design proposal, envisions future-proof and attractive living and working environment for the transformed district. Pivotal to this proposal is the phased transformation of the central four-lane motorway into a lively city park.
Hondsrug Park will provide a variety of places for rest, active recreation and other activities around the clock. The wide spectrum of park programs along the edges of the park will cater to the users from Amstel III and beyond. Strong and easily accessible connections link the park with the surrounding neighborhoods, embedding the park in the city. Diverse nodes of activities will be placed at the intersections of the links to create intuitive routes and enhance navigation through the park.
The park is divided into three different landscapes zones, each with its own atmosphere. The 1st part is the “sports landscape” with predominantly open lawns and trees. The central part forms the “natural park landscape” with height differences created by hills and swales. This part will have a natural appearance where users can unwind and relax. The 3rd part of the Hondsrug Park will be the “garden landscape”, a place for social interaction. The plinths of the adjacent buildings are programmed with urban functions.
Brussels Airport is one of the busiest airports of Europe, with over 25.000 passengers per day. The Curb is the main entrance plaza, connecting all parking garages to the departure hall. It used to be the drop-off zone and infrastructural heart of the complex. Since the terrorist attack in 2016, it was closed for cars, leaving an empty and undefined space behind.
The orientation of the Curb is changed: from a linear infrastructural strip between the parking buildings and the departure hall, towards a square that unites both sides. An alternating floor pattern connects the entrances of the garages to the ones of the hall. Within the dark strips, extruded boxes with lush vegetation are positioned. They naturally guide passengers while providing pleasant places to stay. To further enhance the wayfinding within the area, the linear pattern is strategically disturbed by scaled and rotated logos of Brussels Airport, to mark the building’s entrances.
In custom designed planters a variety of herb- and shrub species is combined with 35 different types of trees. They create a collection of small ecosystems on the square, boosting the biodiversity within a hard and infrastructural environment.
We turned the Curb into a hybrid park-square, uniting the intense use of the space with the green ambition of realizing a co2 neutral airport by 2050. This goal is turned into a spatial billboard, providing a warm and green welcome for all travelers.