Heritage + Nature

A Landscape Vision for Arnhem Estate

This project, ‘Arnhem Estate’, aims to transform the enclosed grounds of the KEMA business site in Arnhem into an inviting, accessible and historical landscape. The site is situated in the grounds of a historic country estate and is beautifully situated on the rocky, river landscape to the west of Arnhem.


The KEMA business park was constructed in the 1930's on the site of a former country estate in Arnhem. Over the years, the business complex has expanded and now extends down to the river. As a consequence, the original park-like atmosphere and architectural consistency of the site are no longer existent.

Modern country estate

Despite the unique historical value of the buildings and the landscape setting of the estate, the site has become ‘jaded’. Our new plan, called ‘Arnhem Estate’, will open, develop and revitalise the grounds into a modern country estate and, consequently, boost the popularity and accessibility of the site and increase its ecological and recreational value.

The original design principles of the KEMA business site have served as inspiration and guidance in the reconceptualised design

‘Arnhem Estate' establishes itself as a new, unique estate in the Veluwe area, because it is the only site that connects both the moraine and the river (the natural elevation of the site has been maximised to facilitate this connection). The original design principles of the KEMA business park and its scenic qualities served as inspiration and guidance in the reconceptualised design plan. Thus, the new plan retains the existing quota of 10% covered, industrial area on the site. However, the parkland has been extended to the base of the buildings and the design of new buildings has been restrained to maximise the space for parkland.

KEMA grounds c. 1960s


A gradual process

Transformation of the existing site and the realisation of ‘Arnhem Estate’ is a gradual process. One of the areas – Mariendaal – has been developed, while the others are still a work in progress. The integrated relationship between architecture and parkland is a crucial aspect of the plan and thus, whenever new proposals for construction are put forward, plans for the development of the surrounding parkland are also made.

Image quality

The landscape vision for ‘Arnhem Estate’ (pictured below) provides a large-scale, clear framework for the development of a high quality, integrated landscape. It also reiterates the key design principles for the project.

Landscape Vision for ‘Arnhem Estate’


Orientation of surroundings

Given the emphasis of the project on opening up the estate, the orientation of the site is an important consideration in the design plan. The once inwards oriented estate is connected with the forested area via the landscape structure of the brook the 'Slijpbeek'. As part of the plan the magnificent views of the surroundings are restored and the entrances to the park are redesigned to make them more inviting.

Whole and parts

Our design envisages the creation of one, unified estate with its own identity, bordered by clear edges inspired by the unique design principles in operation at the KEMA site. Within the unified estate are four distinct areas, each with their own character, shaped by their respective locations, sceneries and histories.

The KEMA-principles as inspiration

Each building is surrounded by green space, with parkland extending right to the foot of the buildings. The restrained, understated architecture of the buildings serves to emphasise the beauty of the natural parkland. As displayed in the images below, some of the distinctive, timeless features from the KEMA site have been re-used in the design of ‘Arnhems Estate’.

Some stylistic devices from the KEMA site, reused in ‘Arnhem Estate’: signage, trails, vegetation, vistas, and intricacies.

Integration of inside and outside

In the future, the estate will play host to a variety of different commuters and visitors. The beautiful park area offers the opportunity to build architectural outdoor structures (balconies, verandas, loggias etc.) to encourage further integration between the park landscape and the buildings. Other architectural features such as stairs, walls, terraces and porches ‘mediate’ between the buildings and the natural landscape, in accordance with the KEMA principles.


In 2014, the main building of TenneT was realised at Mariendaal. Not only the direct environment of the building was designed, but also plans were renewed for the total surrounding outdoor space at Mariendaal. These plans include the landscaping of 250 parking spaces at ground level, the creation of a walking route and a water storage initiative.