Amsterdam University of the Arts (AUA), Amsterdam Academy of Architecture (AAA)



“Good fences make good neighbors”

Subject: P5 design studio Ghana. 3rd year
Teacher: John Londsdale
Author: Gert-Jan Wisse



Having been built in the “Golden Age” of Dutch building activity, Almere is the ultimate example of a suburb. Efficiently layed-out, aimed at introvert-oriented families with kids; a home with a garden and a car in front. People live between the strictly defined plots of the urban plan. The borders between the gardens are heavily defended by tall boardings and hedges. With “Good fences make good neighbors” these borders are put to the test. The zoning plan is changed and new possibilities of exchanging, annexing or sharing space are created. Start at the back door and its ability to transform and adapt to the ambitions and demands of a changing family composition. Changes are always based on agreements between the neighbors. By overthrowing the rules, your next-door neighbor can take the opportunity to upgrade his hobby to a business by renting out your un-used storage space. The neighbor on the other side can occupy the communal lawn next to his garden for growing his ultra-local and delicious green beans, and the businessman next to that shares his garden with his extended neighbor family. A flexible garden system is created.




Rising land

Master/Diploma: Graduation project. 4th year
Teacher: ir. Lodewijk van Nieuwenhuijze
Author: Jorryt Braaksma



The Wadden coast has a long history of land reclamation.  For over 1,000 years, high tidal marshes have been diked in for agricultural use. Because of land subsidence and the current rise in sea-level, these polders are now up to two metres below sea-level. Consequently, it has become increasingly difficult for the district water boards to keep these areas dry and filled with fresh water.



Rising Land tries to look for sustainable solutions for salinization, and for ways to make the coast become a safer place again. Its strategy is to silt up the low polders naturally, under the influence of tidal dynamics, so that they end up above the average high-water mark. The oldest and deepest Dollart polder serves as a pilot. Because of a surplus of silt in the waters of the Eems-Dollart estuary, the estuary suffers from ecological problems. To solve this, the silt is being used to raise the polder, so that dredging in the estuary can be reduced. That has its positive effects on the limpidity of water and the biological production, which serve as a basis of the ecosystem. During this process, spectacular landscapes will appear in rapid succession, in a relatively short period of time (75-100 years).



Stewardship through landscape

Master: P4b design studio Countryside. 2nd year
Teacher: Marieke Timermans
Author: Yuka Yoshida




How can we bring back stewardship through landscape?  The area between Oldenzaal and Dinkel used to be an important source of food for the people of Oldenzaal.  Over the centuries, industrialization and large-scale agriculture have changed the symbiotic relationship between the city and the surrounding agricultural land. Although the system of agriculture in the area has changed over time, the old pattern of the landscape remains visible in the area and attract many visitors. Because of the richness of nature, Natuur2000 identified this area as one for increasing biodiversity in the future in a way that is both economically and environmentally sustainable.


My approach is to create a community that is physically involved in the management of nature and of the food-production process and is a place for urban dwellers to come and connect with nature. Although traditional small-scale agriculture is slowly fading out, there is an increasing demand for local organic food production. Farmers can guide the process of natural farming, and inhabitants can provide the labor to maintain the farmland. Natural farming increases the biodiversity of the soil, and by making multiple dwellings in the woodland there will be a new biodiversity relating to human activities. Moreover, these provide the financial stability to allow extensive farming. Woodland communities will not destroy the historically layered landscape pattern; also, farmland living becomes more accessible for wider audience and brings back stewardship to an area with a historical landscape.


Gardens for Koutloumousiou

Subject:  P3b design studio Public Garden. 2nd year
Teacher: Anouk Vogel
Authors: Inge Vleemingh, Gert-Jan Wisse, Anna Sobiech


“Gardens for Koutloumousiou” is a project for six gardens in a Greek-Orthodox monastery on the holy Mount Athos. The six gardens are mystic places, hidden in the forest. The monastery welcomes hundreds of men who are performing a pilgrimage by walking from monastery to monastery. Along the way they collect medicinal and holy herbs as a token of their pilgrimage. The gardens provide fields for picking herbs as well as orchards and vineyards for the monastery. The pilgrims use the paths to follow the creeks that run down the mountain slopes. These paths have integrated gullies that slow down the water run-off and allow the water to enter the gardens over a longer period of time. At places, where the water is allowed into the fields, a lusher vegetation has started to appear. This emphasizes the peninsula’s botanic wealth.