Grassgarden Villa Beekbergen Bureau Poortvliet & Partners (The Netherlands) Garden and Landscape architecs: Jaap Poortvliet & Mariejanne Vorenholt
Location: Villa Beekbergen is located on the Berg en Dalweg in Beekbergen (municipality Apeldoorn), in the province of Gelderland. The unique villa is built on a 2.5 acre wooded plot with surprizing variations in height. The plot is a part of an area that is called the Veluwe-Complex moraine, which is characterised by its rolling landscape. A scenic phenomenon thatwas formed during the last ice age.
The Villa The villa is located in an open spot in the wood, surrounded by several monumental beeches (Fagus sulvatica ‘Atropurpurea´). It has a distinct shape and an innovative character based on a conical concrete sculpture with a curved thatched roof which rises up between the trees. The villa is partially built into the moraine and some levels are underground so that the rolling woodland blends into the various levels of the villa. The rolling nature of the terrain and the particular shape of the villa gave us the main reason to choose a design with organic forms. The design was created in close collaboration with the owners, Mr Anton Schouten and Ms Hannie Kempink.
Design plan and execution The route to the villa winds through the wood and cuts through the moraine. At the place where the moraine is dissected concrete walls are placed to spatially mark the passage. The route which runs around the garden and ends at the parking place and the formal entrance to the villa consists of a path of 'Esticon' concrete slabs, in size 190 x200 cm. The concrete slabs integrate seamlessly with the curved metal bridge at the entrance to the villa. At the lowest level of the route, rising between high concrete walls (4m high), is the entrance to the garage. The character of the terrain and location of the house required a clear framework as a boundary between the garden and the wood. This is formed by a hedge of Fagus sylvatica 'Atopunicea. The hedge follows the rolling landscape, not as a linear element, but rather as an autonomous form, inspired by the "Savoy" Aalto vase. The hedge thus winds around the grasses garden like a caterpillar,sometimes narrow and sometimes thicker, where necessary, and is either high or low, which in turn leads to surprising vistas.
Within this landscape lies the garden area, a grass garden with winding paths and terraces at different levels. Beside the house there are two linked terraces, a sunken platform terrace adjoining the kitchen and an upper deck terrace adjoining the living room which ends in a rectangular shaped pond with a stainless steel rim. For the grasses garden two strong and contrasting grasses, the 2.00 meter high Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' (this does not flower in the Netherlands) and low evergreen Carex morrowii 'Variegata', were chosen. Given the sweeping character of the area the structure of the garden paths varies from high to low. The grass surfaces partly follow this structure. The meandering nature of the grass surfaces give, again and again, a different perspective of both the garden in relation to the villa and into the surrounding woodland.
The subdued planting gives attractive and surprizing views of the garden in all seasons of the year and the use of durable materials makes it easy to maintain and enjoy.