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Meet Hank van Tilborg

After more than 25 years, the founding fathers of H+N+S are stepping back and making space for the three new directors. H+N+S introduces Hank van Tilborg (1972), who has been working at H+N+S since 2006 and became a partner and member of the management team in 2011. His expertise lies in making strong conceptual designs and their translation into sensitive detailed plans.

News April 20, 2017, Amersfoort

Hank writes and publishes work on a regular basis and was a member of the editorial team of the Blauwe Kamer Landscape and Urban Design Magazine from 2004 to 2015. He lectures in landscape architecture at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam, Arnhem, Rotterdam and Wageningen University (WUR). From 2007 to 2010 he was board member of the Green Society and the AORTA (Centre of Architecture in Utrecht). As of 2015, he has been a member of the Aesthetics Committee of the municipality of Nijmegen. From 2016, he has been a member of the Spatial Quality Teams for the Waalsprong Nijmegen, Waal bridge and for Stadsblokken-Meinerswijk Arnhem. In 2017 Hank became a member of the External Advisory Committee of the Chair group landscape architecture at WUR. Hank is a fanatical football player and a passionate cyclist, mountain biker, mountaineer and skier. 

Hank explains the design of the NMM (photos: Heijmans)

Interview

Who/what inspired you to become a landscape architect?

When I was 14 years old, I read an article in the newspaper about a designer who restored an old brook back to its natural state at an old estate. I thought: 'I want to do this too!' I knew then that I wanted to become a landscape architect. I still have the newspaper article lying around somewhere! 

What is your strength as a landscape architect?

My strength lies in conceptual thinking and I can easily distinguish main issues from secundary concerns. I'm not afraid to make choices, I am verbally strong and persuasive, and can motivate people. I work concisely and thoroughly. I hope this leads to well-though-through designs.  Obviously, I also have weaker characteristics. And every day I learn new things. Perhaps that is my greatest strength: always wanting to improve myself. 

Entrance area NMM

What place/project should every landscape architect have visited, or know about?  

There are many beautiful places and I keep discovering new ones. Earlier this year, I deliverd a lecture about places I have recently visited that have made a great impression on me. The WWI War Memorials by Lutyens, at Ypres are such places. These landscapes tell stories, they have a memory. Another one of my favourites is Lanzarote - one of the Canary Islands. The artist-architect Cesar Manrique has done many beautiful projects on the Island! 

A place where my passion for cycling meets my professional passion is Mont Ventoux: a huge, barren mountain in the Provence, with the Alps in the background.

Lanzerote

What are you most proud of in your career and why?   

I am most proud of the Netherlands National Military Museum at Soesterberg, because of the wonderful end result and the exemplary process. The tender phase was fascinating and the cooperation with the partners, in particular the architect Dick van Wageningen, was incredibly inspiring. Dick has pushed the entire design team to great heights!   

Every time I visit the Museum I enjoy the integrative design, the interior, architecture and landscape seamlessly blend together. I also like seeing all the children running around and exploring the landscape. I am probably most proud of the fact that the client told us that the final result was better than they could have dreamt of! 

Remembrance landscape Ypres

What is your vision for H+N+S? 

In my vision, H+N+S transforms without changing. What I mean to say is that I hope H+N+S maintains its identity, although the people and projects might change in the future years. The core values of the office will hopefully stay the same, also after the departure of Dirk, Jandirk and Lodewijk. Their legacy has become part of the H+N+S's DNA. Together with Pieter, Nikol and the other employees, we will make sure that we will continue to make thourough, high quality plans! 

Hank cycling up the Mont Ventoux

What do you think are the greatest future challenges for the landscape architecture profession?

There are many challenges for our society, and therefore also for our profession, related to climate, environment, water and energy. However, I think the largest challenge is to maintain a positive attitude, despite so many things not going very well in our world. Our designs, creativity and energy can help to improve things. We should continue trying to make things better and more beautiful. I believe in the power of design!

Profile page Hank