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At the end of the spring semester of 2016/2017, nineteen graduates from the Chair of Landscape Architecture presented their graduation project during the Landscape Graduation Exhibition 2017, including six work-in-progress projects that will be finalized in November 2017. The exhibition in the BK Expo at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment in Delft was fully organized, designed, and constructed by the students during the final exam period. The exhibition displayed a unique look into the Flowscapes graduation studio[1], with a broad global view (students originate from China, Cyprus, Greece, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, and Slovenia) and a diverse display of not just final products, but also work-in-progress and raw working materials. The Flowscapes graduation studio deals with the theme of ‘Infrastructure as Landscape and Landscape as Infrastructure’ and served as a guiding theme to the students in order to explore spatial, societal, and environmental issues through research-by-design, in various context and through all scales. The display of these materials invited visitors to experience this research process for themselves, through seeing, touching, studying and engaging with the materials. Translucent curtains hid a wealthy world of models, sketches and drawings, materials from the design locations, and revealed an exquisite display of film material. The students created the films during the research processes, to help the research on movements and transformation processes and to present the final projects.

The exhibition was officially opened on July 5th, 2017, by Berno Strootman, independent governmental advisor on the physical environment of the Netherlands. With a short lecture on the wordy portfolio of the advisory work, he introduced the visitors to the current major landscape architectonic challenges for spatial design in the Netherlands: energy transition, social care, cities and highways, climate adaptation, declining biodiversity, sponge cities, space for flexibility, soil subsidence, and new forms of agriculture.

According to Berno Strootman, these topics should be addressed with vision and through all scales, combining our knowledge and skills of garden design and the engineered landscape to create new futures.

Together with the audience, Berno Strootman took the time to reflect upon the presented graduation work. The presented work clearly applied the typical Dutch layer approach, with a large diversity of themes. Some projects were more conceptual, even theoretical, other projects showed social engagement. Most projects used strategic concepts involving ecologic, cultural, and societal issues, which were tested on specific sites. All projects adopted the idea of the studio that landscapes are systems. The projects show integrated approaches of green, grey, blue, and urban systems through all scales. Especially the urban focus in the projects is typical for Delft graduates, Berno mentioned. Wishing all graduates good luck for their future, the independent governmental advisor concluded with some essential tips to the young professionals, fully endorsed by staff of the Landscape Architecture Master Track:

  • Organize your tools: know all design software, including GIS
  • Train your design skills (take part in competitions!)
  • Fill your library: read, travel, measure, keep thinking and exploring
  • Work through all scales
  • Work with other designers and other disciplines
  • Go beyond your comfort zone, experiment in maximizing your creativity
  • Train your senses for aesthetic by looking at beautiful things
  • Ensure a good balance between your right (creative) and left (logic) half of the brain
  • Keep looking for inspiring tutors
  • Enjoy what you do; it’s a great field of work!
blog LA graduation exhibition_group picture

Flowscapes graduate students & team 2016 – 2017

Words      dr. ir. Inge Bobbink & Lotte Dijkstra
Images     ir. Ruojing Wu

[1] Please check Flowscapes Graduation Work 2016-2017

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On the 22nd of november the Landscape Architecture master students went on another of many adventures. This time, the path led to Holwerd, a historical village in Friesland on the coast of the dynamic and beautiful Wadden Sea and to the island on the other side, Ameland.

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Being the biggest tidal area of the world, the Wadden Sea is one of Holland’s prides showing an intriguing interplay of nature’s power and man’s whit. With its rich ecology and its captivating views, the area earned its World Heritage title. And upon experiencing the site, we could all agree.

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Poetry was written all over our two day trip as we drifted away from our student life in Delft and wandered into the lives of ecologists, birdwatchers, the inhabitants of Holwerd and Ameland and the ferry captains. We saw both natures beauty in the astonishing sunset sky, the dancing bird formations and the foggy dunes in the morning light and man’s whit in the terps of Holwerd, the abstract line of the dikes and openness of the polders. When we looked up to the night sky, it was the first time in a while that we could see the stars and when we climbed up to the panorama deck on the ferry, the Wadden Sea showed off its looks presenting the tidal flats.

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It is safe to say that the Wadden Sea area is unique and that hopefully, the next adventure will bring us to another place like this.

Eva Ventura

Last summer students of the Master track Landscape Architecture of the TU Delft could follow a summer course in the Tuinen Mien Ruys in Dedemsvaart, made possible by a generous subsidy of the NHBos Foundation. It was a hands-on workshop in a real life situation addressing the practical skill of planting design, a basic skill for any landscape architect. We thought it wise to start at the smallest scale: the design of a border. The students experimented with different angles to approach this topic, playfully gaining knowledge of the formal, technical and biological aspects of plant species, which can be used in different circumstances.

The Tuinen Mien Ruys – a lifetime’s work of Mien Ruys, one of the most important garden architects in the 20th century – contain 30 gardens with experiments in design, plants and materials, presenting an overview of garden architecture from 1924 to the present day. The location was chosen because here the students could both study planting design in real life, and create a design that could be executed in situ, working back and forth between studying real situations and own design experiments.

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Early July, with a nearby campsite as base, eight students came together and worked for an intensive week, studying plants, planting combinations and compositions, under the guidance of both teachers of the TU Delft – Frits van Loon, Nico Tillie and Saskia de Wit – and a garden expert from the Tuinen – Conny den Hollander. Each day had the same structure, thus gaining a step-by-step insight in the characteristics and behaviour of plants and planting compositions: a guided tour with a different theme, studying and drawing existing situations of plant combinations, experimenting with new plant combinations. At the end of the week each student had made a full planting plan, of which one was chosen for execution. The chosen design, made by Pierre Oskam, gives a nice twist to the classical border, built up from low to high. Interestingly, the starting point is the movement of pedestrians.

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Molinia caerulea ‘Moorhexe’ with Potentilla x hopwoodiana, Crocosmia masoniorum,  Thalictrum delavayi

Three months later we returned to the gardens, armed with boots, gloves and rainproof clothes, in order to execute the chosen design. This was supervised by Marjolijn Storm, a young gardener in training from nearby AOC De Groene Welle, who was learning how to supervise a gardener’s team. The ground had been dug prior to the execution, and then dug for a second time, in order to give a malleable, weed-free plant base. Marjolijn had already marked the areas with rope, and the plants were waiting for us, lined up in neat boxes. All we had to do was space them out, put them in the soil, and then rake over and over again.

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So now we have a TU experimental border in Dedemsvaart, still looking young and fragile, and we can’t wait for it to grow. The gardeners of the Tuinen Mien Ruys will maintain the garden for the next couple of years. Who knows, when we return 2 years from now, we will find Pierres drawing in real life…

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In February 2013, MSc students of Landscape Architecture were taken to the Nieuwland Museum in Leystad for a three day workshop, led by an artist. Cora Jongsma, who has worked extensively with felt, introduced students to the fascinating similarities between two seemingly incongruent occurrences: the creation of felt from wool and the creation of polders.

Exhibition by Cora Jonsma in Nieuwland Erfgoedcentrum, LelystadExhibition by Cora Jongsma in Nieuwland Erfgoedcentrum, Lelystad

“Essentially, polders are created when water is pumped out of land. Similarly, to create felt, wet wool is flattened with a rolling pin. The constant rolling shrinks the fabric to create a smooth surface,” explains Inge Bobbink, coordinator of education at the Chair of Landscape Architecture. “Going through the process of making this fabric themselves gave students an insight into the process of how polders were created and how the land subsided due to the fact of drainage,” she adds.

During the course of the workshop students were first taught how to make felt and then about mixing colours, creating layers and texturing. On the final day they were asked to recreate a part of ‘their’ polder using the felt and colours made by them. Each student works parallel to the workshop on a design for ‘a recrational waterlandscape’ in a polder.

WoolSketching landscape structureTesting felt landscapeThe final effect of the workshop is definitely remarkable. As Bobbink walks us through the exhibition, the scraps of fabric begin to make sense. One is a landscape surrounded by crisscrossing water bodies; the fabric has been dyed in different hues of blue to create a sense of depth. Another is a greener landscape – a park on a polder. One looks like a prize-winning landscape garden.

The tableOverall, it is equal parts scientific and aesthetic. “The making of felt is for me the same as cultivating the landscape… I keep this natural process in mind with my Experimental Polders of Felt, with the only difference that felt softens instead of hardens… I try, as an alchemist, to transform the area into gold, and to say the least, in felt,” says Jongsma, in an introduction to the workshop.

Bobbink says that since the workshop she has noticed a marked improvement in how the students engage with the course. That’s not all. “Playing with designs, using technical know-how with imagination is something that will be handy to them in the long run as landscape artists,” she adds.

Interview by Damini Purkayastha from DELTA

Proeftuinen van Vilt on Cora Jongsma’s website

From all over the world master students come to the TU in Delft to study. Of the 24 students of the master track urban landscape architecture there are 15 students from abroad, mostly Asian, but also a few other nationalities. They come from cities like Bangkok and have to settle in a small town like Delft. “Where is everybody?”, they wonder; “Where is all the traffic and why do the shops close so early?”  Then in the second week they have to get up real early, to fetch the bus. The bus leaves at six o’clock in the morning, and takes them all the way, to the north of Groningen. There in the middle of nowhere they have to walk down the sea dike to the waterfront and see how the land is won, see how the Netherlands is made of clay, and sand. See how barely visible height differences have significant consequences of the way this land is occupied, and how the blue skies cover these green fields. And when I look at the students, I see them wonder: ‘Urban landscape architecture he?’

ImageIn total we went on three trips. The second one took us to the rivers, the Rijn, Maas and Waal. Seeing how the power of the ice ages formed the basis of todays landscape, and how the rivers molded that landscape further. Discovering on this trip that there is a logical place for settlements, always between the high dry grounds and the low wetlands, so man can have the best of both worlds. In the river landscape this means that the first and main settlements are on the levees along the rivers. Here man grew crops and planted the orchards. The lower backlands were for cattle.

ImageThrough time, the logic of this structure is diminished, because of new technics making it possible to settle also in the backlands for example.  Also more to the west, the rivers become more and more urban. The third trip took us to the region of The Hague and Rotterdam. Starting of at the coast, looking at the Sandmotor, understanding that natural processes can and should be used to develop the Netherlands. Rather then ignoring them and trying to solve everything just with technical solutions. Also understanding that urban developments are less and less connected to the natural basis. But that urban developments have their own logic an their own set of rules.

Smallest polder - plan overview

Polder Garden – bird’s eye view Campus Delft

Last year Michael van der Meer, the director of the Science Centre and Rolf Hut from the Faculty of Civil Engineering asked us to design the ‘smallest polder of the Netherlands’ at the Campus of TU Delft. We invited 5 students (Lowin van der Burg, Marij Hoogland, Linda Nijhof, Emma Ottevanger and Cem Steenhorst) from the faculty of Architecture, who invested quite some time next to their regular study program, to make a design. Denise Piccinini and myself from the department of Landscape Architecture coached them.

The project should demonstrate, especially to foreign guests and children, who visit the Science Centre, a typical piece of the man-made Dutch landscape.

Furthermore the polder should explain the principles of water management of the lowlands. Rain drops fall into the polder, are collected in the ditches, flow to the main canal and are discharged via the screw pump onto the ring canal that surrounds the polder.

Since the polder is very small and situated next to the Science Centre, neighboring a future international housing block we decided to design the polder as being garden. The image of the design should convince decision makers who are involved in planning process of TU Delft campus, that this Polder Garden can become an educational and spatial interesting hotspot. And moreover the first polder we, the Dutch, build in the Netherlands after having finished South Flevoland in 1968!

Surrealistic Games with Layered Landscapes
Exhibition opening Rotterdam April 20th 2012 &
Book presentation Dutch Architecture with Landscape Methods Vol.3

This week we will have the final review of an student research laboratory ‘Design Analysis’ that I have been teaching with Matthew Skjonsberg (West 8) since february this year at Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunst (RAvB). The review will also be our final book editing session for our jointly published book ‘Dutch Architecture with Landscape Methods Vol.3’ (Jauslin, Skjonsberg e.a. 2012) that will be available as print on demand and .pdf by the end of this month.

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Invitation Cards Designed by RAvB Students

During the last 9 weeks the first year master students of RAVB have been visiting, documenting and analyzing Dutch Architecture with Landscape Methods. What surprised me again, as each time I’ve taught and changed the course, is how deeply students get motivated in this laboratory setting and how sharp they become as critics and analysts when they dive into other architect’s designs. Or as the Director of RAvB Chris van Langen put it our course leads to “huge progress of the students’ capacity in design analysis and the understanding of design mechanisms and to highly enthusiastic reactions of the students.”

Such teaching experience and feedback affirms our belief that design research and analysis are essential in teaching design, should it not merely be an artistic academicism but rather an intense academic exercise, practice and interchange – which does not exclude but rather intensifies work on aesthetics. This is very much in line with the Delft approach to landscape architecture our chair expressed in two recent publications with Steffen Nijhuis and Inge Bobbink (2011 & 2012).

In Dutch Architecture with Landscape Methods Vol.3, several groups of students analyze projects from the last 25 years of Dutch architecture as to how they are designed like a landscape. In particular in the Netherlands contemporary architecture is increasingly influenced by the concept of landscape. Like on many other places a new mindset is emerging, transforming the core values of the disciplines of architecture and urbanism: the organization of architectural space as a landscape. Our lab experiments for the development of methods to analyze such phenomena in case studies, understanding how architects use  landscape not only as a metaphor but also as a method to design buildings.

The exhibition will present individual analyses of Dutch architecture projects as Cadavre Exquis – the result of a surrealist game (Brotchie 1991) played on the work of offices NOX, De Zwarte Hond, Mecanoo, SANAA, OMA, Wim Quist, NL Architects, Onyx and MVRDV. All of them where decomposed, according to principles laid out by Steenbergen & Reh (2003)  into their ground form, spatial form, image form and program form according to intensely discussed and modified criteria.

ImageTerritorial Negotiation Studio Workshop MAS-Urban Design ETH Z Prof. Marc Angelil photo: Matthew Skjonsberg

Matthew and I also share two common experiences in the fields of landscape and architecture: that of the academia of Prof. Marc Angelil at ETH Zürich and the practice of West 8 in Rotterdam. Both studio situations inspired us to engage in hands-on teaching with a lot of experiments – we are exceptionally proud to call this a laboratory.  For one of our last workshops at the Laboratory Design Analysis we used the models to occupy a site, and then played a game. The game we played has resemblance to the Surrealist game Cadavre Exquis. Cadavre Exquis, also known as exquisite corpse or rotating corpse, is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. the order “adjective – noun – adverb – verb” or “head – body – legs”) or by being allowed to see the end of the drawing the previous person contributed. In our case the student’s individual ground forms established a set of interconnecting rafts to realize a floating city for the Dutch Delta Games 2028 in the former Dock RDM at the Maas (the location of the Academy) while they traded spatial form, image form and program form according to the rules of the game.

In this intentionally surrealistic game we played, students generated a transformation of their 4 layered architectural composition and a new plot while introducing qualitative criteria. The game board was a rescaled plot of SANAA’s Kustlinie Almere – one of the analyzed designs. Their floor plan of transparent walls was at a small lake in Almere was mapped into another scale as a floating raft at the south bank of Rotterdam’s river Maas.


Video of the Cadavre Exquis On Site Design Workshop  time lapse camera: author

The results of this workshop were used for the collective design of the 2028 Olympic press & officials village that we propose as a group. We adopted this idea from a sketch that recently accompanied a campaign of our host city – but hope our students will encourage city or sports officials to also play the architecture at the level of olympians combining the best concepts of Dutch architecture un the fine art of land-making.

This is the 3rd time researcher Daniel Jauslin has been conducting methodological testing with students after similar studios at TU Delft in 2009 and RAVB in 2010. The collaboration with Matthew Skjonsberg of West 8 focused the research more explicitly on notions of ecology and contexualism, and guest lecturers and critics André Dekker of Observatorium and Olaf Gipser made important contributions. Olaf Gipser shaped his lecture very close to our course’s hypothesis and will also contribute to TU Delft’s How Do You Landscape? Lecture series 24.5.2012.

In the meantime, I’ve continuously conducted my own phd research on other projects with similar (although more intense) analytical tools. I was positively surprised in finding the winners of the in this regard important Aberdeen City Garden Competition were architects DS&R, whose Blur building in Yverdon I have been studying for a while – and where I also was involved in their design team at West 8. You may be interested to read why I think Aberdeen is bringing the discussion beyond Landscape or Architecture in the review about it on toposmagazine.com (Jauslin 2012).

Our 30 students are currently working hard on extra efforts to finish their analysis before easter. They will compose one raft village model that will be exhibited in the RAVB exhibition hall with a view on the site. All those interested in Dutch Architecture with Landscape Methods, please come see our exhibition at RAvB in the splendid old main office of RDM opening on April 20 the 2012 11h00 – 12h30*.

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ImageDesign Studio Scene and Site of the RDM dock with RAvB in Former Head Office,  360panorama app photo: author

It is not by coincidence an unofficial off-show of the IABR 2012 that will open its gates at the NAi on that same weekend as we hope to attract some visiting architects that want to learn more about recent trends in Dutch Architecture from a landscape architecture viewpoint. A particularity of RAVB students is that they are all also professionals in practice. We hope our subject would lead to interesting discussions across many offices and academic institutions in landscape and architecture.

*check for opening hours & visiting information: RAvB.nl
Transportation to Heijplaat-RDM: Aqualiner.nl
Course Description: RAvB.nl/design-analysis
Video of the Cadavre Exquis Workshop  youtu.be/i7uK5OuX1OM

Angélil, M. M. and L. Uziyel (2003). Inchoate an experiment in architectural education. Zürich, Switzerland, Marc Angélil Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Department of Architecture ETH Hönggerberg.
Angelil, M. M. and D. Hebel (2008). Designing architecture : a manual. Basel ; Boston, Birkhäuser.
Brotchie, Alastair and  Mel Gooding (1991). A Book of Surrealist Games. London: Redstone Press. pp. 143–144.
Jauslin, Daniel, Matthew Skjonsberg e.a. (2012) Dutch Architecture with Landscape Methods Vol.3 Rotterdam DGJDasGehtJa! (forthcoming)
Jauslin, Daniel (2012) Aberdeen City Garden – Beyond Landscape or Architecture http://www.toposmagazine.com/blog/aberdeen-city-garden-beyond-landscape-or-architecture.html
Nijhuis, Steffen, Inge Bobbink, Daniel Jauslin (2011). Research and Design in Landscape Architecture. IASDR 2011 Diversity and unity: 4th World Conference on Design Research. Edited by N. Roozenburg, L.-L. Chen and P. J. Stappers. Delft. available at http://repository.tudelft.nl
Nijhuis, Steffen, Inge Bobbink, Daniel Jauslin (2012).Landscape as an Architectural Composition: The Delft Approach (forthcoming). Representing Landscape A Visual Collection of Landscape Architectural Drawings Edited by Nadia Amoroso. New York, Routledge
Steenbergen, Clemens and Wouter Reh (2003). Architecture and Landscape: The Design Experiment of the Great European Gardens and Landscapes, Basel, Boston, Berlin, Birkhäuser.

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