Winner of the LILA 2022 in Hospitality

No site is ‘tabula rasa’, but sometimes, sites demand more creation than translation. This is the case with The Unbound, an imaginative design for a tourist resort based on being with the landscape, observing nature, and participating in food production. Despite the non-site-specific design language that unnecessarily neglects this area’s history as a characteristic dutch polder, the design for this high-end tourist resort adds to the bigger picture of a new, more natural green recreational wedge in the city of Amsterdam that brings tourists and inhabitants closer to the landscape and nature. Resort guests are invited to take part in the outside world, by which The Unbound gives new meaning to recreation in a city like Amsterdam.

Complex pathways together with strong low vegetation allow for the space to feel mysterious, a space that needs to be explored. Once the trees grow, another layer of complexity will reveal itself and add additional dynamics to the site.

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The animated landscape for a luscious city escape in the ‘Tuinen van West’

On the edge of Amsterdam West, between the wild gardens and organic vegetable and fruit fields, a former wasteland has been transformed into a sustainable estate: The Unbound. A natural wilderness, programmed with wellness facilities, giving room to luxurious lodges and an exclusive hotel. A space that allows you to unwind and reload. Connect to nature and reconnect with the city whenever you like.

Felixx created a lush natural environment by diversifying the topography: a pond, wetlands and hills. This generates conditions for diverse vegetation types, organically structuring the area in different rooms, connected by meandering paths and walkways. With an event field, playing areas, vegetable garden, orchard, wellness forest, yoga field and amphitheatre, this adventurous site is equipped for various uses, entertaining guests and visitors.

A large tree marks the entrance that leads to the hotel, situated next to a small lake. The central hotel building is situated next to the large swimming pond. A walkway leads to the sauna with shower and plunge pool, located on the pond. A bridge spans the pond, connecting the hotel to the lodge forest, where tiny houses are centred around a community building.

Sauna and canoeing facilities are located in the water, separated by a bridge which connects the hotel to the lodge forest. Different tiny houses are centred around a community-building, providing optimal privacy on the individual terraces. The park continues into the wellness forest, where we find the amphitheatre and an elevated yoga field.

A set of pathways connects the whole area and leads to the event field. This intimate and enclosed location is suitable for weddings or temporary festivals. The adjacent playing area is an exciting site filled with play elements for the younger visitors. The vegetable garden offers an orchard experience and provides healthy food for the hotel restaurant.

The overall area of The Unbound Amsterdam wellness resort is ‘Tuinen van West’, a place where visitors can go to relax, exercise or entertain themselves. An elusive experience for tourists and locals, a city retreat in a natural wilderness.

In a joint statement, Marnix Vink of Felixx Landscape Architects and Planners; Jan van Erven Dorens of Dorens Architects, and Renee Appelo, from Studio Appelo said, “The close collaboration between all involved parties ensured that every detail of the boutique hotel and natural garden had been thought through. The outcome is a harmonious and persuasive ambience created by architecture, landscape, the hotel, and lodges. A relaxing and exclusive experience for this city escape.”

Landscape Architecture: Felixx

Other designers involved in the design of landscape:

Studio Appelo, Dorens Architects

Project Location: The Unbound, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Design year: 2018

Year Built: 2020

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