Star Maze, Netherlands

 

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In northern Netherlands, the historic Groot Vijversburg park is not only expanding physically but also going contemporary with the addition of a new Star Maze, which will be designed by LOLA landscape architects,Deltavormgroep, and Piet Oudolf, plant designer for the High Line Park and last year’s Serpentine Gallery pavilion.

According to Bustler, the idea is to use new works of landscape architecture to transform Groot Vijversburg park, a ”romantic public park,” from a historic site into a national destination with a more contemporary feel. Beyond theStar Maze, lots will be added like “two new park chambers, which create a link between the historical park, a post-war recreational area, and a nature reserve.”

The Star Maze is a “remix” of two historic park shapes, “the star shaped forest” and the “labyrinth.” Tall hedges will work like “room dividers for the existing meadow and create several park spaces suitable for various use.” The structure is also designed to connect visitors into other components of the park.

The design team writes: “Each ending of the Star Maze has a function, such as a landscape balcony with a view over the nature reserve, a pier for canoe travelers in the recreational area, a window with a vista to the main park villa and a shed with rubber boots, to explore the marshland.”

An additional “park chamber,” which can be flooded, will be a bit of The Sound of Music, with hills featuring perennials in a “field of pollard willows.” The hills will be accessible via a series of small dikes.

The landscape architects write that the changes to the way visitors flow through the site represent the shift from “romantic” to contemporary landscape models: “The central space gives an overview in all directions but at the same time doesn’t impose any direction. By doing so, the design goes beyond the ideals of public cultivation and public health on which the nearby romantic park and the Modern recreational landscape are based, and it gives the visitor maximum freedom to use the park however he wishes to.”

  • Project name: Star Maze
  • Location: Tytsjerk, Netherlands
  • Program: Extension to public park
  • Area: Project Size: 85,000 m2
  • Year: Commission: 2012 • Construction Start: 2013
  • Project by: LOLA landscape architects
  • Others: Collaborators: Deltavormgroep, Piet Oudolf
  • Text: Courtesy of LOLA landscape architects
  • Images: Courtesy of LOLA landscape architects

Park extension Groot Vijversburg:

Park Groot Vijversburg is a romantic public park with a growing art collection, located in the north of The Netherlands. The park is broadening its boundaries and is ambitious to become a national destination. The winning landscape design gives a contemporary interpretation to two new park chambers which create a link between the historical park, a post-war recreational area and a nature reserve.

Central element in the design is the ‘Star Maze’, a remix of two historic park figures: the star shaped forest and the labyrinth. This structure consists of tall hedges that function like room dividers for the existing meadow and create several park spaces suitable for various use. On top of this, the structure creates connections to the surrounding landscape and arranges the accessibility to the various fields. Each ending of the ‘Star Maze’ has a function, such as a landscape balcony with a view over the nature reserve, a pier for canoe travelers in the recreational area, a window with a vista to the main park villa and a shed with rubber boots, to explore the marshland. The second park chamber, which can be flooded regularly, contains several hills with perennials in a field of pollard willows. The hills can be reached through a grid structure of small dikes.

The design offers the visitor a great freedom of choice in the way he can move through the park. The visitor has to find his own way through the ‘Star Maze’ to the different areas. The central space gives an overview in all directions but at the same time doesn’t impose any direction. By doing so, the design goes beyond the ideals of public cultivation and public health on which the nearby romantic park and the modernistic recreational landscape are based, and it gives the visitor maximum freedom to use the park however he wishes to.

The team (LOLA, Deltavormgroep, Piet Oudolf) has won this commission through a national tender, for which five teams were selected. The other design teams were B+B in collaboration with Michael van Gessel, OKRA, Hosper en Strootman.

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