Land art + Soundscape

Land art park Buitenschot

On the authority of Schiphol a multidisciplinary team worked on a world first project: a park that exists by the grace of low frequency ground noise caused by aircraft taking off. Because of its design, the park landscape contributes to a considerable noise reduction.


After the Polderbaan (5th runway at Schiphol Airport) was opened for operation in 2003, residents in the area were disturbed by ground noise (low frequency noise caused by aircraft taking off). It was concluded that a 10dB reduction would seriously reduce the noise. Residents noticed that the noise was reduced when farmlands were ploughed. This was the starting point for a research into a noise-reducing landscaping.

The aim was to also give a recreational added value to the noice reducing ribbed structure

The basic element consists of 3-metre-high embankments which are 1, 10 metres below the land surface and distribute the noise. The 1 metre broad paths between the ridges also serve as walking paths. In Park Buitenschot a second principal direction for the ridges is introduced exactly perpendicular to the sound waves. This relates to the linked ridges up to the Haarlemmermeer polder grid in a surprising way, generating an intriguing interplay of lines.


The design was an interative process between the designers of H+N+S, Paul de Kort, visual artist, TNO (noise reduction technology) and Witteveen + Bos (cost calculation and feasibility). They were supervised by the designer of the first Buitenschot park plan, without noise reduction: the Government Service for Sustainable Rural Development, Mainport and Green Foundation and by the client, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

Ground noise

Measurements and calculations have shown that the ground noise is distorted and dispersed, as it were, by oblique planes.  With some poetic license one could say that the invisible ground noise in the ground ridges is made visible.


A 3 metre high embankment was placed on the land surface around a large open space. Besides the pyramids this is the sole elevation element in the park. The embankments, without trenches, blend seamlessly into the land surface. Various paths run through the park area. There’s a paved bicycle lane in the center and a paved footpath crosses the park. The most informal network is created by the grassy and cut paths between the ridges.


Vistas and lines of sight, smaller and bigger rooms emerge, inviting you to sports and games or even cultural events.  To the north and south the grassy ridge structure thins out until it dissolves in sole longitudinal pyramids distributed along the edges. Unique objects are on the pyramids which are inspired on the parabolic sound mirrors along the English coastline.

Use of the park

The park consists of a number of different spaces between the embankments. The heart of the park is formed by a 500 metre long and 100 metre wide plot. This offers ample space to be used as a playing field and during cultural events. In addition to the large space there a  number of smaller enclosed areas scattered between the embankments.


+ Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
+ Mainport and Green Foundation
+ Witteveen & Bos
+ Nijmeijer & Mokking environmental advice