Bureau B+B urbanism and landscape architecture links decades of experience to young talent. Our designs are clear and functional, but also poetic. By inquisitive design, we find answers to current themes. We create meaningful places, inviting people to develop their own activities. Precision and craftsmanship are essential to our work. We care for the project from initial sketch to final completion.
Since its founding in 1977 Bureau B+B built up a rich experience. At the same time, we keep attracting young talent. Because the bureau renews itself continuously, it keeps finding fresh solutions to current themes. The bureau is organized as a collective, allowing all employees to develop their own style. The team is made up of people from various backgrounds, personalities and fascinations. Employees often develop into leading designers and eventually start their own business. Equal cooperation and interdisciplinary exchange are a constant factor at the bureau.
The open, collective company culture causes our style to vary from project to project. Even so, our designs can be recognized by their poetic clarity. We aim for clear and explainable designs. The framework is powerful, the details are subtle and refined. The designs always contain a remarkable idea or an unconventional intervention that lifts the spatial experience above the functional. A clear, functional foundation creates opportunity for emotion, tactility and the poetic component of a design.
Every design starts with research of the existing elements, traditions and culture of the location. We consider a design successful, when it makes people feel at home and invites them to develop their own activities. During the design process we often choose to make hand sketches and analogue models. These models and sketches immediately communicate an idea, without getting lost in details. This allows for intuition and inventiveness. We read the location and add a chapter, so the story of the place can be told over and over.
No matter how spectacular the design is, a mediocre construction ruins everything. We aim for the highest quality possible. For this, precision and craftsmanship are essential. This is reflected in the details, but also in our knowledge of construction and materials. We often design unique pavement stones, furniture and fences, tailor made for the specific location and design. In order to achieve the best end result, we supervise the design from sketch to completion.
The Mariahilfer Strasse is a fancy, nineteenth century shopping boulevard in Vienna. In the last decades it became very heavy with traffic. The City of Vienna decided to transform the street into an inviting, pedestrian friendly avenue. The design was commissioned to Bureau B+B, together with the Viennese architects orso.pitro. The urban fabric consists of much more than just traffic space. For us it is all about creating places to be. When people do more than just pass by, a city comes to life. It is time to re-examine the role of city centers. Bureau B+B witnessed the change of inner cities in the last decades from within. In the fifties, the car made its entrance in the town centers. Public domain was reduced to the width of the sidewalk. As a counter reaction, many cities chose to ban all traffic from the shopping streets in the seventies. At the same time, homogenous retail chains spread out uniformity over the towns. What remained were streets with phantom pains. Today’s economic situation signals the end of many run of the mill retail chains. We are convinced that this is a blessing for the inner cities. It gives us the opportunity to search for local identity and new lifelines. Originally, vibrancy and mixed use defined the atmosphere. That is why we design streets where pedestrians and bicyclists naturally merge with local traffic, suppliers and public transport. The shared space is a place to be that makes people linger longer than their movement lasts.
Between the centre of Bocholt and the Aa lake, lies a forgotten industrial site. It has a lot of hidden qualities: the river Aa, industrial heritage and a textile museum. Bureau B+B and SeARCH made plans to transform this area into a bustling, multifunctional neighborhood. Transformation The area transforms in three phases: 1. Access During the first phase the accessibility of the area is improved for pedestrians and bikes. New pathways are constructed along the river Aa from the town centre to the lake. Several bridges connect the north and the south bank. 2. Activation After the area has been opened up, people are seduced to explore the site. An attractive terrace will be laid out next to the textile museum. Vacant factories stage temporary events: a secret garden, a guerrilla café, a skate park, a flea market, a concert, a dance festival, open air movies… 3. Program In the final phase of the transformation new functions are added. Old factories can be transformed into houses in an early stage. The pioneers that move here will accelerate the transformation process. We are not just designers of places: we also direct the process in space and time. It is an open end process, with no definite blueprint. Investing in public space creates the framework in which the program can develop gradually and and flexibly. Restructuring the existing city is all about connecting people and places. Spatial design creates the conditions to do this.
In 1964 the Velser tunnel was constructed, right through the middle of the Wijkeroog Park. This not only dissected the green area, but also disturbed the soil and water balance. In cooperation with the artist Erick de Lyon, Bureau B+B reconstructed an old creek and designed new connections for the park. The Scheybeek creek flows from the dunes near Heemskerk, through the Westerhout and Scheybeeck parks, into the North Sea Canal. Until recently, the lower course of the creek was no longer identifiable as a stream. Bureau B+B reconstructed this. The Scheybeek strings the different parks together and serves as the central theme of the renovated park. Through the middle of the creek runs a concrete gutter, that prevents the creek from running dry during hot summers. The artificial creek is an autonomous element that structures and connects the Wijkeroog park. At the same time, it creates possibilities for nature and recreation. Originally, the Scheybeek was subject to tidal ebbs and flows. The gradient from fresh to brackish water created an interesting habitat for rare plants and fish. We repaired these ecological conditions. On the location where the creek discharges into the Noth Sea Canal, the fresh creek water flows into a pond, filled with brackish canal water. The pond is connected with the canal by a fish siphon. We clearly show the contrast between natural processes and technical interventions, telling the story of the ambiguous relationship between man and water.
The Princes Beatrix Lock will be enlarged with a third lock chamber. In addition, the Lek canal will be widened. The lock and the canal both have great historical value, and therefore have to be handled with care. Bureau B+B defined the preconditions for landscape integration. The Princes Beatrix Lock was built in 1937 and is a state monument. It is a land mark, that should not be overshadowed by the new lock chamber. Bureau B+B designed the new chamber as a ‘cut in the land’, that literally does not stick out. On the site of the canal widening, remnants were found of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, a nineteenth century military waterwork. Removing these objects will destroy the continuity of the defense line and would set a precedent. To simply relocate these objects would be considered falsification of history. That is why the objects must be pushed aside in a way that clearly shows that they have been moved. This way, the widening of the canal becomes a legible part of the landscapes history. The bunkers linger as ‘Objets Trouvés’ along the dike. We build on the story of a place. Not by conservation or reconstruction, but by assigning a future proof role to cultural heritage. We add a new chapter and make history accessible and tangible.
Because the population of Hoensbroek is in decline, some apartment buildings and a school became vacant. The demolition of these buildings made it possible to develop a new park. The park gives the problematic neighborhood a positive boost. The transformation from a residential area to a park is a gradual process. During the transformation, several activities create engagement and familiarity among the residents. The Aldenhof Park is created for residents, but also with residents. Neighbors could participate during workshops at the start of the project. The local ideas and whishes were integrated in the design. ‘Green and village-like’ were key words. During the course of the transformation, several activities were organized. Neighbors made colorful weather vanes and hung them on poles in the park. A bee-hotel was built and schoolchildren planted trees. All activities contribute to social coherence and sustainability. The park is constructed with as many recycled materials as possible. The paving stones come from a nearby street. The school fences are made from balcony banisters from demolished apartment buildings. Rainwater can easily infiltrate. Excess water ends up in a pond in the lowest part of the park. In case of extreme down poring, the pond has an overflow into the sewer. Valuable trees are preserved. For new planting, indigenous varieties were chosen. Due to the great success of the bee-hotel, it was decided to sow flowers that attract bees and butterflies.