architectura + natura
H+N+S Landscape Architects was founded in 1990 by Lodewijk van Nieuwenhuijze, Dirk Sijmons and Dick Hamhuis (later succeeded by Jandirk Hoekstra). From 2011 onwards, a number of employees gradually joined the management, which now consists of Nikol Dietz, Hank van Tilborg and Pieter Schengenga. Dirk Sijmons, Lodewijk van Nieuwenhuijze and Jandirk Hoekstra participate in the firm's projects in the role of advisor.
>> The history of the office shows a number of periods, each of which can be characterized by a specific product, a new theme or an approach to the assignment.
1990 - 1995
Prior to the founding of the office, the founders already made a name for themselves with Plan Ooievaar (Plan Stork), a spatial plan that won the first Eo Wijers competition in 1985. This plan marked a new generation of regional plans based on the water system and nature development. In the early years of the firm, these regional projects were the main part of the work, in addition to studies on hull planning and the future of peat meadow areas.
During this period, the book ‘Places of Abstinence’ also appears, in which ecologists and landscape architects argue for a nature approach that supports nature development through interventions in water management or the soil. Furthermore, with this design for the Zaartpark (Breda), the office lays the foundation for a series of design plans in which designing bridges and striking basic forms plays an important role.
SUSTAINABLE WATER MANAGEMENT + LAYER APPROACH
During this period, the office grows to ten landscape architects and designers. The idea of a design laboratory takes shape, a working environment in which landscape themes are investigated and where teams design throughout the scales. Landscape projects that are designed during this period cover the full spectrum from national visions to development plans. A good example is the river dike reinforcement of the Waaldijk between Afferden and Dreumel. The new dike profile, in which safety and a sturdy appearance come together, will eventually be adopted as the standard profile for the Delta Act on major rivers.
Water management in the Netherlands is also on the spatial planning agenda during this time. Led by Lodewijk van Nieuwenhuijze, the office does important pioneering work in translating sustainable water management into area plans. Furthermore, H+N+S invents the concept of the layers approach and the office publishes the book ‘= Landscape’, in which the most important office themes of the moment are reviewed.
HERITAGE + IMPLEMENTED PROJECTS
More than ten years after its foundation, the firm receives the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund Prize for its role in the emancipation of the field of landscape architecture, and a few years later Dirk Sijmons receives the Rotterdam-Maaskant Prize. He will later publish the book ‘Map mos and other reflections on landscape’ on the occasion of the prize.
During this period, heritage issues are high on the agenda and plans for various former military lines of defense, including the Defense Line of Amsterdam, are added to the oeuvre of H+N+S Landscape Architects.
The ambition to create appealing, implementation-oriented projects is given a boost in these years by the built projects in the Vinex districts of IJburg (Amsterdam) and Leidsche Rijn (Utrecht) and some special projects, such as the surroundings of the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven) and a few private gardens.
AREA DEVELOPMENT + INFRASTRUCTURE
In these years the office reaches its current size of around 25 employees. As a result of the built-up know-how and expertise in the office, H+N+S is increasingly receiving requests to participate in quality teams. Dirk Sijmons is appointed as National Landscape Advisor and Jandirk Hoekstra as leader of Atelier Overijssel. Moreover, in 2010 H+N+S Landscape Architects moves from Utrecht to Amersfoort.
During this period H+N+S makes an important contribution to the Room for the River concept, a new perspective on the safety of the river area.
Through a number of implementation projects, the firm has the opportunity to translate the principles that are part of Room for the River into solid design plans (bypass Kampen and Waalweelde). Area development projects continue to form part of the order portfolio, for which the clients are increasingly market parties. The share of large infrastructure projects is growing, such as the Route design A4 and A12, Area vision A15, Central Axis Friesland and Maasvlakte II landscape plan.
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY + CLIMATE CHANGE
In a period characterized by economic uncertainty, H+N+S takes part in various selection procedures and open calls. Successfully, as evidenced by the tenders won for, among others, the National Military Museum (Soesterberg), the new building of the RIVM (Uithof, Utrecht), Naturalis (Leiden) and Room for the Waal (I-Lent, Nijmegen).
Employees Nikol Dietz and Hank van Tilborg join the management team of H+N+S in September of 2011, and in October of the same year Dirk Sijmons is appointed professor of landscape architecture at the TU Delft for a period of 4 years. Delft. In March 2012, Jandirk Hoekstra is appointed Provincial Advisor on Spatial Quality for the province of Noord-Holland for a period of 3 years. This is extended in 2015 for a further 3-year period. Pieter Schengenga joins the management team in 2014.
H+N+S GOES INTERNATIONAL
During these years, H+N+S Landscape Architects more emphatically manifests itself abroad. The office wins various competitions in Belgium, such as for the Belle Vue park (Leuven) and the Citadel Park (Ghent), and for the International Architecture Biennial 2012 in Rotterdam, H+N+S is working on Test Site Istanbul. In the US, the office is involved in the Dutch Dialogues in New Orleans (in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina) and soon after it is successful with its entry for New Jersey in the context of the Rebuild by Design competition (after Hurricane Sandy). Dutch knowledge is used to prepare these places for climate change. In 2014, a separate company is established specifically for international activities: H+N+S Landscape Architects International.
During this period, energy and sustainability play an important role in the portfolio (including the ‘Small Energy Atlas’, research into biomass fermentation in Groningen and various windmill studies). The publication ‘Landscape and Energy’ is published in 2014 led by Dirk Sijmons, in which the spatial consequences of the transition to sustainable energy are investigated using a number of scenarios. During this period, the office continues to work on parts of the Delta Program, in which the consequences of climate change have been investigated for the following areas and brought together in long-term explorations for 2100: future perspectives for the Southwest Delta, IJssel-Vecht delta and the Coastal Quality Atelier.
In the fall of 2015, H+N+S celebrates its 25th anniversary. On the occasion of its birthday, the office organizes a triptych of lectures at its location in Amersfoort in which the ‘Dutch Approach’ is the central theme. Three Friday afternoons, various national and international speakers reflect on the merits and opportunities of the Dutch Approach. Under the guidance of Eric Luiten, then National Adviser for the landscape, discussions emerge about the significance of this approach.
How typically Dutch is this method? What has this approach yielded? How promising is it in a changing playing field? And what can we expect from it in the future? An essay by Noël van Dooren on the Dutch Approach is the starting point for introductions and discussions. The essay is given to those present during the meetings. Marieke Berkers made a report of the three meetings.
2017 is a great year for H+N+S in which the office is extensively honored. We are awarded two prizes. As an office, we receive the Landezine International Landscape Award (LILA) 2017, the former TOPOS Award, in the ‘office’ category in Slovenia. H+N+S is selected from more than 100 entries from all over the world.
Dirk Sijmons, founding father and advisor to H+N+S, shortly after receives the Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award, a prestigious award from the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). Dirk receives the 2017 Premier Award for Landscape Architecture in Montreal, Canada. H+N+S is proud of Dirk's achievements and this particularly honorable prize.
FUTURE CHALLENGES AND TASKS
From a rich past we look at our (professional) future with a positive-critical attitude. We believe that landscape architects in particular, more and more, can play a broad and meaningful role in our society and that the creativity and ability of our profession is needed more than ever.
The new social and spatial developments that are happening stimulate us to further innovate and develop our office and our profession. Therein lies the challenge for the next 30 years of the office.
At H+N+S, we continuously work on the following major social tasks / themes, while aiming for a beautiful, functioning and sustainable Netherlands and abroad. We are constantly looking and searching further.