Editor's note

The notion of innovation today in our profession is used too lightly. Often the term comes around in PR texts and in the end reveals decades (if not centuries) old knowledge concerning water management, restoration of habitats, other known ecological measures or simply minimalistic solutions that perform well. But every now and then there’s a project that can proudly use this term. The task of Buitenschot park is to reduce ground noise from the airport so that the residents of the nearby housing could enjoy quieter living conditions. The residents reported that there was less noise when the fields around were ploughed which gave clues to the designers. After some interesting experiments involving concert speakers and noises from all kinds of aircraft engines, triangular linear landforms were designed as an effective measure to reduce the noise. The result is this strange park that offers a special kind of experience to visitors.

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H+N+S Landscape Architects: On behalf of Schiphol Group, a multidisciplinary project team designed a recreational park that simultaneously reduces ground noise from the airport. The design is a unique integration of landscape architecture, land art, and innovative technology. When the 5th runway of Schiphol Airport (the ‘Polderbaan’) was opened for operation in 2003, residents living in the area (Hoofddorp-North) were burdened with ground noise. Ground noise is low-frequency noise caused by aircrafts taking off.

The Land Art Park Buitenschot not only reduces noise from the aircrafts but also adds aesthetic and recreational values to the area. The basic elements consist of three meter high embankments, which disperse the ground noise. One meter wide paths between the ridges serve as walking paths for visitors from Hoofddorp. The ground ridges are placed perpendicular to the sound waves for optimal sound reduction. This has led to a specific form that has an interesting relationship with the orderly grid of the Haarlemmermeer-polder.

Through vistas and lines of sight, smaller and bigger rooms emerge, which can be used for sports and cultural events. To the north and south the grassy ridge structure extends until it dissolves into longitudinal pyramids, distributed along the edges. Unique art objects are placed on the pyramids, inspired by parabolic sound mirrors, exploring the meaning of sound in this soundscape.


Location: Haarlemmermeer, Hoofddorp
Plan surface area: 36ha
Client: Schiphol in collaboration with. Stichting Mainport en Groen
Design: H+N+S Landscape Architects in collaboration with artist Paul de Kort, TNO and Witteveen en Bos
Design: 2010-2012
Realisation: 2012-2013
Noise reduction: 5,5dB (4dB Buitenschot park + 1,5dB test site)
Contract value: 3 milion
Contractor: Dura Vermeer

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