Strootman Landschapsarchitecten is an award-winning office for landscape architecture. We have developed a diverse and innovative oeuvre since the office was founded in 2002 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Our work integrates urbanism, cultural history, ecology and art within a landscape architectural framework, and is characterized by a multidisciplinary approach to complex design assignments. We enjoy working together and often do so with hydrologists, ecologists, artists, philosophers, urbanists, civil engineers, architects and others. This work takes the office from regional plans to garden design, from rural areas to the city, and from research to implementation, covering the full width of the field of landscape architecture. With our multidisciplinary approach to complex design issues, we develop concepts and visions for large-scale planning issues that address global warming, climate resilience, infrastructure, biodiversity and urbanization. The office is and has been involved in some of the largest and most complex development projects in the Netherlands, such as large-scale urban extensions for Amsterdam and Groningen, the redevelopment of Twente Airport and the development plan for the west of the Haarlemmermeer polder. In our work, we constantly switch scales, translating our visions for the larger landscape into concrete design proposals. Typical of this approach are projects such as the Drentsche Aa, Landschapspark Pauwels and our work for the Twickel estate, which contain visions for the entire landscape and were worked through until the furnishing. Water management plays an important role in our work. Both on a large scale, as in our master plan for the entire Netherlands North Sea coast, our strategic projects for the Meuse river and on the smaller scale, as in our design for the Lankheet water purification park. We design residential areas in which the landscape is prominently present. The atmosphere is primarily determined by a harmonious ensemble of buildings and lush greenery, such as in our current design for Hembrug, a former military terrain near Zaandam and in our design for the Bloemendalerpolder, nearby Weesp. These are residential landscapes in which the original cultivated landscape is not eradicated but utilised, the water system is natural, paving is minimal, flowers are allowed to blossom and trees are allowed to grow tall. The residential areas that we have designed so far vary in size between 10 and 10,000 dwellings. A mix of analytical depth and design flair characterizes the work of Strootman; the team works meticulously through the analytical and the conceptual stages, and then artistically develops the design scheme. While conceptual, the work is always viewed in terms of final construction. The office combines thought with material craftsmanship, and strives for a certain earthy quality, warmth and playfulness. The distinguishing feature of the work is the overarching sense of the natural and the earthy: the user becomes immersed in the spatial, visual and temporal aspects of landscape, true to the genius of the place but without the work losing a distinct design sensibility.
The Drentsche Aa is one of most beautiful areas in the Netherlands, and one of the most pristine cultural landscapes in the country. However, due to new developments, the area is slowly fragmenting and clogging up and the differences between stream valleys, cultivation mounds and fields has become more and more obscure. The landscape plan proposes to enhance the contrasts between the landscape units, demonstrating how the drama of the landscape can be brought to life and how historical layers can be made more visible. One of the largest remaining heath in the Drentsche Aa, the Ballooërveld, is like an old skin full of historical scars. The removal of vertical vegetation clarifies the spatial coherence between all those elements. Clumps and solitary trees have been allowed to remain and provide structure. The Strubben Kniphorstbosch has a unique feature: the strubben. These strangely shaped oaks tell the story of the former prominent role of sheep in the heathland. An important part of the design is to free the old trees from the young spontaneous growth, which have gradually been taken over the strubben, so that they can be admired again in all their glory. For eight locations in the Drentsche Aa, a design has been made to create unique locations where people can enjoy the view. The belvederes have a robust look and are designed in a restrained manner with resources from the landscape: soil, vegetation and objects made of untreated wood and rusted steel.
With “Landschapspark Pauwels”, the urbanized agricultural landscape between the city of Tilburg and the Loonse and Drunense Duinen National Park is given a new boost. In recent years, the city has expanded considerably in the direction of this landscape, but it is now clear that the space for building for homes and businesses is not available indefinitely. To strengthen the connection between Tilburg and the landscapes in the countryside, Strootman Landschapsarchitecten has made a master plan for Landschapspark Pauwels. Named after the knight who owned a large part of the area in the Middle Ages, the master plan proposes to transform the area into a landscape park by strengthening the ecological, cultural-historical and recreational qualities of the area.
By adding new destinations, such as a water purification park at the location of historical settling ponds, various tasks such as making the cultural history experienceable, creating a climate-proof water network and increasing the recreational qualities of the landscape are jointly solved. A new route, the “Rondje Pauwels”, offers visitors to the landscape park the opportunity to take a varied tour through the different landscapes and villages. Recognizable, recurring elements along the route serve as a marking and resting points.
A water purification plant, but at the same time a public water park and a nature area: this combination can be found on the Lankheet country estate. The aim of the water purification park is to develop reed lands that purify stream water, produce biomass for green energy or fuel, and provide a study ground for fundamental scientific research on the cleansing of surface water using reed filters. At the same time, this scientific experiment is also designed as a poetic water spectacle. The layout of the reed fields forms the framework of the water garden. Because one side of several fields has been made slanting for technical reasons, a system of linear and meandering paths results. On the east side a clear-cut boundary is formed by an undulating curved panoramic dike that is both spatial spine and observatory point. In the water garden, the working of the purification system and the course of the water in that process have been made as clear as possible. Special features are added to the park to evoke a poetic atmosphere and to provide insight into the system, such as a water labyrinth at the end of the system by Scottish artist Jim Buchanan. The water purification is regarded as a ‘blue service’, meaning that the water board pays the country estate for its purifying activity, and thereby forms a new economic support for the country estate. The water of the Buurserbeek is let into the purification park, cleansed, and channeled back into the stream.
The Meuse (Maas in Dutch) is the longest river of the Netherlands and is in constant flux. From a wild meandering riverplain, the landscape has been restrained with reclamations, dikes and canalizations, and now faces a new challenge. To increase water safety, as part of the National Delta Program, it’s no longer the single task of strengthening dikes, but the search for new space for the river and improving the landscape at the same time. Since 2012 Strootman Landschapsarchitecten has been involved over several projects with the Meuse. From the scale of the entire river such as the project ‘Spatial perspective for the Meuse’, in which flood protection measures are proposed to be a motor to increase landscape qualities and are combined with solutions for a wide range of spatial issues. To the scale of a ‘Maasoeverpark’: a plan for a landscape park along the river close to the urban area of ‘s Hertogenbosch. The Maasoeverpark gives more room for the river so water level decreases significantly, and at the same time turns the river into the front yard of the city and surrounding villages once again, starting and finishing at the historical fortresses Crevecoeur and Sint-Andries. The long history of the Meuse landscape also gets enough attention, such as in the project for the Unesco Biosphere Reserve ‘Maasheggen’. Our office made a plan to maintain a traditional agricultural hedgerow landscape that goes together with the creation of a new water channel.
Twickel, whose history goes back to the 14th century, is the largest estate in the Netherlands. The castle is situated in Delden , and is surrounded by a garden (Huispark), a park (Overpark) and a beautiful agricultural landschap.The Huispark and Overpark have a long history with great landscape architects, such as architect.D. Zocher and C.E.A. Petzold. Since Petzold’s design of more than a century ago, there has been no major renovation. Until Michael van Gessel made a renovationplan for both parks from 1990 to 2015. In line with Michael van Gessel’s masterplan, Strootman finished the renovation for the Overpark. The plan is based on respect for the historical park design, adjustment to new circumstances and focus on present and future use. 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. Strootman Landschapsarchitecten also designed seven new pedestrian bridges: six in the Overpark and one over the ring road to reinforce the connection between Twickel and the small town of Delden, which have always been closely connected. To strengthen that link even further, Strootman made a design for the landscape between the estate and the town of Delden, by strengthening the connection of both sides. The impact of the slope of the banks of the ring road is reduced and vegetation along the road is removed to restore the visual connection between the estate and Delden.