Culture + Nature
Redevelopment of garden and park at Saint Hubertus Hunting Lodge
- Hoge Veluwe National Park Foundation
- Ede, National Park de Hoge Veluwe
- Antea Group
- Bureau Fritz
- Jacqueline van der Kloet
- Michael R. Van Gessel
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the wealthy Kroller-Muller couple realised their dream with the construction of their incredible, exclusive country estate on the Veluwe. The estate is now open to the public, and the lodge itself has recently been completely renovated. Visitors can once again walk amongst the ponds and gardens, as was intended by the Dutch architect Berlage one hundred years ago.
Saint Hubertus Hunting Lodge is situated in the middle of Veluwe National Park. The recently restored building, together with the garden and the park construction, are protected national monuments. The lodge was designed by the architect H. P. Berlage. He created a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ for the Kroller-Muller family, in which he designed everything from tableware and silver cutlery, to the green areas surrounding the house.
Dilution of the original design
Berlage’s original plan for the garden and park construction was never fully realised. Various changes and adjustments were made in subsequent years by the new management of the site, which diluted and disrupted the coherence of the original draft and were detrimental to the overall design.
Berlage’s design deserves a facelift after 100 years as, over time, the implementation of the original design has been diluted and compromised
The park at the Saint Huberus Hunting Lodge is unique because it is (as far as is known) the only park that was designed by Berlage during his working life. In the design, he chose a style that is best described as a kind of ‘business-like’, Dutch landscape style. The design is meticulously organised, and the ponds and paths are designed with almost mathematical precision. This has resulted in a beautiful combination of curves and bends, with no straight vectors. In order to restore the precision and unique beauty of the original plan, it was decided that certain additions and changes to the existing park were necessary, to remove aspects that had deteriorated.
A large part of the proposals offered by H+N+S have been implemented, such as the walking route around the ponds and the environment surrounding the Service building, where the offices of the ‘Hoge Veluwe National Park Foundation’ are now located. For the complete realisation of the proposal, however, no fixed timetable was delineated – the implementation of the proposal will be gradually executed, depending on whether funds are available.
The phased implementation of the project has the added benefit that visitors to the park can slowly become adapted to the changes. Some of the additions and removals to the existing park are quite drastic – such as the removal of the flower beds by Mien Ruys, or the removal of the rhododendrons. Because the new proposal is gradually being implemented, visitors can experience the changes as minor and less intrusive.
One hundred years ago, Berlage designed a special variant of the landscape style in which the main axis is formed by a series of interconnected fountains. In the areas transitioning from water to land along the banks of the lake, he integrated a footpath. This path formed a sharp edge around the lake, and in the space between the path and the pond, no bushes were planted. This was a very striking design choice for that time.
A century later
A century after construction, the property fell into disrepair. Subsequent management amended and overruled Berlage’s design, adding various features such as a bridge and a perennial flower bed by Mien Ruys. H+N+S have created a plan for the redevelopment of the park, which refocuses attention on the style, detail and intention of Berlage’s original design.
However, H+N+S also understand and acknowledge that Berlage’s design, while remarkable, requires some adaption to suit the modern usage and requirements of the site. For example, the removal of existing, operational buildings to recreate a complete green space, is neither practical nor possible. Furthermore, certain aspects of Berlage’s design are not clear. For example, no information is available that describes Berlage’s original intentions for the northern entrance and thus, creativity and adaptation are required.
Berlage did, when creating his original design, take into account large numbers of visitors to the estate. Even so, the park is no longer a private estate but a public park, and thus, certain adaptions to the original design were necessary to accommodate for this influx. The original entrance to the park has been moved, which allows visitors to enter from both the north and south of the park. This allows the Saint Hubertus Hunting Lodge to become more spatially anchored in its environment, and improve its accessibility for motorists, cyclists, hikers, horse riders and walkers.
The plan also involved a mass clean-up of the site, such as the removal of overgrown reeds which infested the shoreline and hid the lodge partially from view. New flora has also been added to the park, such as the planting of reed orchids along the new walkway and the laying of rare peat moss in the water mill. In this way, nature and heritage go hand in hand.
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