Andrew van Egmond: This special garden embraces a fascinating home in the poetic landscape of Schoorl. Linking it with the landscape is an important aspect of this work. The plot is located in the bocage landscape behind the broad dune in Schoorl. 5km further on you can see the sea, but you feel the suggestion of the endless horizon that lies behind the high dune edge. The place is almost non-Dutch. The height of the dune gives the experience of a hillside. In the evening, the light of the sun projects on the high dune over the dark forest facade giving a magical experience as it illuminates every landscape room.
This unique building sits on a mound and from the kitchen and the living room you are literally elevated above this landscape. From the house, long lines and scenes in the garden along with the effect of light and dark, steers one’s orientation to the surrounding landscape. Looking from the living room, the garden does not stop at the boundary but continues into the pasture next to it. The only separation is a narrow ditch with Alders here and there. The characteristic Alder forest continues into the neighbouring lot without any fencing present.
What makes this garden even more special is that it lies on a subtle landscape transitioning from the higher sandy soils to the lower peat meadows, which are part of the hinterland. On the lower wetter part of the garden, you find the Alder forest with its characteristic play of tall slim trunks. This story of the landscape transition is now more visible and experienced more strongly through the design. A prominent diagonal line emphasises the edge of the forest and steers your orientation even more towards the surrounding landscape. This diagonal line in the design makes the garden look even bigger than it already is. And a tight long steel line marks the height difference and the transition from lawn meadow to the forest part. The long wall consists of solid concrete blocks, which seem to float subtly above the forest floor. The refinement in this kind of strong and powerful gesture is crucial. In this case, the refinement lies in letting the total object float and in particular in the characteristic sandblasted graph designed by Studio BLAD. This drawing suggests movement and refers to the movement of sand bodies in the dunes close to the sea. The same graphic can also be found in the wall along the driveway.
The composition of the long, clean lines and large gestures, is in contrast with the lush nature. Tight gestures are loose in space, green flows everywhere, lines cut through the cushions of grass and the play of trunks. The composition of the garden does not detract from the strength of the architecture of the house, allowing the house to stand on its own in the landscape.
The materials used in this design are firm but refined. The concrete gestures with subtle finishing can age beautifully. The wooden boardwalk will age naturally into the Alder forest. The sharp steel lines define the height differences in the garden and enhance the contrast between nature and architecture. They are black coated, the same color as the steel in the house. In this way, the garden responds to the house in a subtle way.
As said before, the whole house is lifted above the landscape and lies on a mound. The house is almost separate from its environment. This suggestion of detachment has been strengthened by putting the whole house in a field of grasses. The monolith of black steel, black-stained wood and large mirrored windows that catch the sky, lies in a soft cushion of ornamental grass that constantly changes color, texture and volume throughout the season and captures the weather. Filtered light in the evening, dew in the early morning, wind on a turbulent day and frost in the winter are caught in this field of grasses and tell a poetic story that you are part of the landscape.
Office name: Andrew van Egmond
Role of the office in the project: Garden design
Other designers involved: Studio BLAD (design of sandblasted pattern concrete elements & sparring partners in the design process), Kroeze Hoveniers Beesd (green constructor), Van der berk (trees), Burlight (Lighting), Paul de Ruiter (architecture, the main dwelling)
Project location: The Netherlands
Design year: 2016
Year Built: 2018
Photography: Andrew van Egmond