Hop overs + Wooded banks

Central Axis Fryslan

The design of the Central Axis (N356) and the integration of the motorway into the landscape of the northern Frisian forests constitutes a contemporary cultural challenge. This not only applies to the structures along the motorway itself but also to the ‘receiving’ landscape surrounding it.


The construction of the new 25 km motorway running from the N31 to the ring road around Dokkum is a remarable project that crosses the National landscape De Noardlike Fryske Wâlden. An important approach was not to ‘hide’ the motorway but to form a contrast and show the beautiful landscape to the road users.

Winding road

The motorway itself was designed as a contemporary winding road and the existing characteristic landscape was reinforced simultaneously. The design emphasizes the spatial transitions between the open peatland meadows (removing plants) and the closed-off wooded banks and crescent landscape (vegetation and reinforcement of crescent structures in the surroundings of the road).

Aligning road and landscapes

The design and integration of the road emphasizes a contrasting element, a contrast between the road and the landcape. The experience of the road and landscape is reinforced by making a clear choice between the road’s and landscape’s own identity and by using the contrast between both of these.


H+N+S collaborated with NEXT architects on the integration of the Central Axis (N365) into the landscape and on the design of the road, structures, bicycle bridges and hop overs. H+N+S created a preliminary design for the road, structures and planting schemes and was involved in writing the procurement documents and control & supervision of the contractors in the final design and construction phase.


Identity & building blocks

The design of the structures has been aligned in order to give the road its own identity. Classifying the structures into various forms creates strong cohesion and an interesting sequence. For the generic elements buiding blocks have been developed. The perception from the road on the one hand and the perception of the landscape on the other hand has been taken into consideration. The structures are clearly shaped as a result of which they become disengaged from the landscape.

Bicycle bridge and bat hop over

Integral design hop overs

In addition to the experiential value the crescent structures also have an important conductive function for bats. Through the sonar they use the vegetation as a flight route. In order to secure the continuity of the flight routes large trees are planted in the roadside and central reserve to function as a natural crossing (hop over).

Darkness is leading

At an early stage in the design phase a light plan was developed for the entire route in cooperation with Arup. In the integral light plan retaining the darkness is leading. The principle is to have as little street lighting as possible. Consequently energy consumption remains low and adverse effects on the ecological system will be limited. A nocturnal image is created in which the Central Axis itself is not illuminated but the local roads.