New York meets Rotterdam

by Paul van Wijk on 24/03/2014

Last week a delegation from New York visited the Netherlands to exchange knowledge between The Netherlands and New York on dealing with flood-prone areas. The group consisted of the professionals and students from the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development and representatives from local communities of the Rockaways, Red Hook and Lower East Side in New York.

Together with the Dutch Army Corps, the Eastern Scheldt as part of the Dutch Delta Works and the Maeslant storm surge barrier were visited during their 7-day trip. These projects are one of the most distinctive projects on water protection in The Netherlands and even worldwide and are of great importance for the safety of our country.

On Wednesday the group was joined by the Go Dutch Consortium, representatives from the cities of Rotterdam and Dordrecht and Arjan Braamskamp from the Economic Officer Dutch Consulate in New York. Paul van Wijk and Christian Messing from Stijlgroep landscape and urban design presented a selection of their projects for inspiration. One of the presented projects was the award-winning Plan Tide in Dordrecht. In a tidal landscape that was created by flooding a polder and generating tides, the relationship between the height of the dwellings, the normative high tide and the dykes led to an unique design with a high level of quality of life and safety.

Right after this session the group visited Plan Tide, where they could see this knowledge on water realized. This was followed by a walk through the historical inner city of Dordrecht, which deals with periodic flooding because of its low altitude.

Finally, the Pratt Institute and RDM Campus recently announced to have agreed on collaborating the upcoming 3 years on exchanging knowledge on the current water issues. The RDM Campus is a former harbor area in Rotterdam where new educational institutes are the engine of urban renewal for the entire area. Therefore it serves as an ideal example for similar areas in the Greater New York Area. Hereby Stijlgroep landscape and urban design congratulates both institutes on this great achievement!


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Participation process Jan Evertsenlaan

by Stijlgroep on 19/03/2014

by Annelore De Cokere

During the last week of my internship at Stijlgroep I joined Christophe at an participation evening with residents. The project concerns the Jan Eversenlaan in Voorschoten. Housing cooperative De Sleutels, the municipality of Voorschoten and the advisory group already agreed on some principles. The main goal of both the architects of A3 Architects and the designers of Stijlgroep was to listen to the residents’ desires. Hereby we as designers of the public space can achieve a better design and a design that fully meets the wishes of the residents.

At one table A3 Architects presented their plans to the four building blocks. There was a table for public space, where the residents could vote for what they would like to have in their own neighborhood and write down their own wishes. I was standing at the third table with the scale model. The residents could add various elements to their own neighborhood by themselves, such as seating furniture, play areas, fruit trees, vegetable garden.

At the end of the evening we presented the results of each table to the forty enthusiastic residents who were present. The input by the residents during this session will be used to set up the final design.

For me this was the first participation session I experienced. It was a very interesting completion of my internship. It learned me how you can really make a design where the final users have contributed to and feel proud of. In my opinion this should be the goal of each design.

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The timeframe for building the 700 dwellings of Esse Zoom in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel was set in the spirit of the booming housing market, before anyone could suspect a global crisis. After realizing the first phase in Esse Zoom Hoog, the urban scheme of the lower part, Esse Zoom Laag, was designed and contracts were signed between the municipality and the developers.

When the crisis hit the market in 2008, it was clear that the goals of all parties involved had to be adjusted, or in some cases even reset, to be able to continue with the development. This was the start of a long journey of the municipality of Zuidplas and the involved developers – Blauwhoed, Dura Vermeer, Roosdom Tijhuis, Stevast, Syntrus Achmea and VORM – to combine forces into a knowledge team.

With Stijlgroep as the spatial coordinator of program and identity, combined with the persistent confidence, trust and adaptive spirit of the municipality and the developers, we are proud to show you the result of this team effort in a plan. In our opinion it provides the correct answer to the changed demand of development: no longer presenting a fixed blueprint urban development in fast mass production, but a spatial strategy of small flexible coherent urban settlements, in a strong identifiable framework of water, green and infrastructure.

The framework of water, green and infrastructure enhances the direction and scale of the former landscape, and thus insure the identity and spatial backbone through the phased development of about 30 dwellings per settlement. Each settlement consists of a informal mixture of freestanding villas, semi-detached and small rows of houses. By the lack of traffic through the settlements, the emphasis of use in the public space will be less on cars and more on people. As it should in coherent social environments.

By defining a continuous public space through the whole development, the settlements intertwine with a green park zone, containing the larger meeting areas and playgrounds. All different uses inside the park zone are connected as if it is a necklace of spaces and functions.

The next phase will be the making of the legal plans and designing the architecture. For this we defined a flexible set of quality guidelines that set the bar, without restricting the freedom of the architect. But most importantly: create a house that can be personalised by the future owner.

Hopefully within a year we will see the first settlement arise amidst the landscape so the next urban population will enjoy this small scale living in the landscape, close to the city of Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel.


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Maasvlakte 2 in the Yearbook of the Blauwe Kamer 2013

by Christophe Cornille on 03/03/2014

Stijlgroep | Maasvlakte2
Stijlgroep is pleased with the publishment of the design by Jan Konings in the Yearbook of the Blauwe Kamer. He designed concrete stairs on the Maasvlakte II, the expansion of the port of Rotterdam supplemented with a new beach for recreational proposes. Commissioned by Port of Rotterdam Authority, Stijlgroep designed the landscape in which the stairs are embedded. We mentioned this project in previous posts. You can find them here:

New Land: Maasvlakte2
Giant Waves: First sketch for Maasvlakte2
Sand, sand, sand …… and some stairs
A brand new beach on a sunny day
Good news and sunshine, Maasvlakte 2

The design is related to the open and industrial landscape, where containers, sand, water and big trucks determine the sight. To invite the visitors to the beach, you need good facilities. The three big parking spaces with clean wide stripes provide an obstacle-free space. Beside the stairs of Jan Konings, we made three wooden stairs for additional connections to the beach, which are slightly lifted up from the dunes. Wooden pillars on top of the dunes mark the entrance and serves as a checkpoint on the beach. Below you find pictures of this project in the summertime.

Stijlgroep | Maasvlakte2
Stijlgroep | Maasvlakte2
Stijlgroep | Maasvlakte2
Stijlgroep | Maasvlakte2
Stijlgroep | Maasvlakte2

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Russkaya Gollandiya

by Paul van Wijk on 26/02/2014


Nizino, Russia. A small town in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. With the opening of the south-western section of the ring road a few years ago, transport accessibility has become much better. With the completion, Nizino is situated inside the southern part of St. Petersburg Ring Road. It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to reach the city centre or the northern districts of St. Petersburg by car. Beside that Nizino now also has a higher traffic capacity and convenient transport connection to the airport and the main transferia to public transport. These developments have made this area into a very attractive place for residence, even close to Petrodvorets and the summer palace.

To accommodate this growing demand for housing in Nizino, Stijlgroep developed a preliminary master plan in 2007, as well as the urban and landscape design for 2,500 houses. The master plan, Russkaya Gollandiya, has a typical Dutch layout. It mainly consists of ground-based town houses. Each neighbourhood is characterized by distinctive features and forms inspired by the adjacent landscape.

Soon the developers, co-investors and planners will confirm on whether to start with the realization of the first phase of 2,500 total dwellings, which was entirely prepared by Stijlgroep.

We are eagerly awaiting for the final results in a few weeks, but are hopeful about the outcome.


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Realization of care centre Adegeest has started

by Gertjan Smits on 24/02/2014


Commissioned by care organization Stichting Zorggroep Florence the realization of residential care complex Adegeest in Voorschoten has recently started. Because the current complex no longer met the standards of this time, the LaVie Vastgoedontwikkeling B.V. developed an entirely new care center on this location. The design of this complex is made by PBV Architecten.

Stijlgroep landscape and urban design is responsible for the design and preparatory work for the execution of the surrounding public space. The paving at the entrance has a clear line pattern, which at the same time includes the parking in a subtle way. The existing beech and monumental oak tree at the entrance side are maintained. In addition to that, other trees will be replanted for preservation. The wings of the new building will be surrounded by hedges, which also mark the terraces and lush gardens as attractive places for relaxation.

Dura Vermeer Bouw Rotterdam has recently started the demolition of the existing complex and will begin in April 2014 with the construction of the new complex.



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Succesfull visit Romania for Valley21

by Dion van Dijk on 22/11/2013

Recently a delegation of Stijlgroep landscape and urban design and developers of Building the Future went to Romania to present the next results of project Valley21.

Intention of this 4-day visit was to present the master plan, along with the three types of architecture of the dwellings in front of the Romania Green Building Council and the Municipality of Vama Buzaului.
The results were received very well, judging from the great enthusiasm of the attendees. It was considered an unique project not only for Romania, but for Europe.

To celebrate this progress, we would like to share some inspiring images of the project so far.


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Start of selling ‘t Suyt a big success!

by Christophe Cornille on 14/11/2013

Last Saturday started the selling of the project ´t Suyt in Waddinxveen. Living in ‘t Suyt is living between the village Waddinxveen and the landscape of the Zuidplaspolder. Green, water, space and tranquility here form the ultimate foundation for a rural way of life, along with the other new residents.

Stijlgroep was responsible for the design of the public space, landscaping and the quality plan of the entire project. Specifically for this project Stijlgroep composed together with the municipality of Waddinxveen a plot passport. This consists of guidelines so future owners can compose their own plot and design their house. In this plot passport many variations are made possible, from traditional to modern and modest and expressive. As long as it fits in the general theme of ´living in the nature´ to ensure the unique identity of ‘t Suyt.

On the very first selling day there was a great interest in the project, judging from the high turnout. At the end of the day 15 potential owners concluded a option contract, with even 8 of them in the first five minutes!

More information about the project on the website of ´t Suyt.



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design of the Marsmanplein

Last week, the Dutch Council of Shopping Centers announced the nominees for the NRW prize of 2014. With this prize the council wants to reward projects that contribute to the qualitative development of shopping centers in The Netherlands by the innovative nature of the project and/or the commercial attractiveness of the project for consumers and other users (including retailers). The jury of this annual prize consists of members of the Management and Supervisory Board of the NRW extended with external experts in the fields of government, sustainability, architecture and retail.

Among the six nominees is shopping centre Marsmanplein in Haarlem, in which Stijlgroep landscape and urban design was involved. From 2005 Stijlgroep worked together with DKV Architects on this project, which is commissioned by project developer Leyten and Van der Vorm Real Estate. This year the project was completed.
At first the project was seen as a risky development. By adding new shops people thought this would compete with the already present ones. But as the project was almost entirely completed and new retailers moving in, it actually turned out that all retailers were having higher turnovers than initially was even expected.

In april 2014 the jury will announce the winner of the NRW prize.

initial sketch of Marsmanplein by Stijlgroep


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Nature in the city

by Dion van Dijk on 21/10/2013

A while ago NRC Handelsblad published an interesting article on nature in the city. Animals appear to feel much more at home in the city than people might think. Modern cities are full with all kinds of animal species. People, animals and plants have the same preference for places to settle down. And urbanisation often takes place on so-called biodiversity hotspots, which are rich in natural resources. According to studies the species in the city, especially on the city edges, are sometimes even larger than on the countryside.

People often have an outdated image of the city consisting only concrete mass. This should be adjusted, since the city consists of many different kinds of species and animals. Below are five reasons why we see more and more animals in the city:

1. Cities are expanding
Cities are expanding over the living areas of animals. Therefore it is more likely that animal species will appear within the city boundaries, without having moved itself. The grass snake in IJburg (Amsterdam) have always lived at the Diemerzeedijk, even before the area was transformed into a city discrict.

2. The city has more to offer than the countryside
Because of more intensive agriculture rural areas are impoverishing. And a monotonous landscape is related to a limited natural variety. In cities on the other hand, you will find a mosaic of landscapes, such as parks and (allotments) gardens.

3. People travel more
People take their pets or animals consciously or unconsciously along on their (inter)national travels. And we make those trips further and more often. This is how the rose-ringed parakeet came to The Netherlands, just like the crayfish. Especially in trading nodes exotic species are common. Did you know that in Rotterdam seven species of turtles are crawling around?

4. Environmental laws have become more strict
Environmental laws in Europe and North America have become more strict. This had lead the last decades to an increasingly better water, air and soil quality. In the Netherlands, the rivers Rhine and the Meuse become much cleaner over the last 25 years.

5. City is a snack bar
The city is a public snack bar. Without breadcrumbs the living range of house sparrows and blackbirds will considerably be smaller. They are especially looking for food at snack bars and restaurants.

This can mean that where at first the discipline of landscape architecture was mostly avoiding urban areas, the value of landscape and landscape design in urban areas becomes of increasing importance. It contributes to the ecosystem of the city, which improves the quality of life for the city as a whole and its residents!


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