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DELVA named Architect of the year 2021 in the Netherlands

Landezine team congratulates DELVA for winning one of the most important awards in the Netherlands in the field of architecture and landscape architecture. A well-deserved award for an innovative and progressive office fit for the future! Cheers!

Visit DELVA’s profile and projects on Landezine.

PRESS: During the festive presentation of the Architectenweb Awards on Wednesday November 10th, DELVA Landscape Architecture & Urbanism was elected Architect of the Year 2021. Of the five architects nominated by the independent jury DELVA received the most votes. With DELVA chosen as the winner, the architectural community is sending out a strong signal about the importance of greening our urban environment.

Which architect, or collective of architects, has made the greatest contribution to the development of architecture in the Netherlands this year? An independent jury considered this question and chose five nominees. The contenders were Marc Koehler, Korth Tielens Architecten, Nanne de Ru, Afaina de Jong and DELVA Landscape Architecture & Urbanism. Every architect and spatial designer in the Netherlands was called upon to cast their vote. The professional community has done so en masse – with DELVA as the glorious winner. The Belgian-Dutch office goes home with a trophy designed by Tjep. and the prize of 5,000 euros.

Connecting Ecology and Economy

As a landscape architecture firm, DELVA stood out among the other nominees. The jury deliberately decided to send a clear signal: the design of vegetation and water in our urban areas can no longer be viewed separately from the design of buildings. “Greening is not something that we can do ‘on the side’, but something that is increasingly becoming an inseparable part of the design of buildings,” said the jury. According to their report, DELVA excels in this challenge by showing how ecology and economy can be interconnected. “As our country continues to urbanise, we also want to increase the natural value and biodiversity. This will only work if the development of new building ensembles goes hand in hand with the strengthening of nature. It is precisely in this complex assignment that DELVA shines through the particularly integrated office approach. The office has repeatedly shown that it can connect ecology and economy.’

Landscape as a basis

Indeed, DELVA radically opts for the landscape as the basis for every project. There is always a search for a new and combined meaning of nature by linking it to the built environment, technological innovation, policies and the economic plan. An example of this is the landscape park designed for the inner water of Strandeiland as part of IJburg in Amsterdam. Separated sanitation will take place on the island where 8,000 homes will be built. Here, DELVA proposes to purify the gray water in a landscape park of 20ha between the islands. This not only benefits the future residents, but also the financial feasibility, plants and animals. Other prized projects of the office include the casino building as a dune landscape in Middelkerke, the Brabant city forest in the urban VDMA development in Eindhoven and the green village square in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

Taking the lead

The DELVA team, led by founder Steven Delva and associates Emiel Swinnen, Sander Van den Bosch and Jeroen Jacobs, is ‘extremely proud’ of course. Delva and his colleagues see the win as a powerful incentive: not just for the team, but for landscape architecture as a profession. Delva: ‘By taking great responsibility, you can have a huge impact as a landscape architect. Society faces questions that architecture alone cannot solve, that’s what we are here for.” DELVA takes responsibility not only by contributing to the business case of the projects, but also by taking over the land acquisition, construction and management of the green space for a number of projects.

‘We ourselves are now going to develop forest in the centres of Eindhoven and in Groningen, for example: we will therefore also be an investor in the vegetation. This way we can better guarantee the quality of the greening, make it part of an economic model, as well as increase its value for the neighborhood and society as a whole,” says Delva. “By taking the lead as landscape architects, we can get closer to the environment we all dream of.”

About DELVA:

DELVA Landscape Architecture & Urbanism was founded in 2008 and now consists of a diverse team of 25 professionals, including (landscape) architects, ecologists and urban planners. The office designs at all scale levels on the combination of new urbanisation and the strengthening of nature. DELVA is active in both Belgium and the Netherlands and operates from Amsterdam.

Published on November 12, 2021

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