“At H+N+S Landscape Architects, we pride ourselves on being at the cutting edge. We are unafraid of research and experiment, so we’re always on the lookout for innovation.
Most of our work is done at home, in the Netherlands. To us, our country is an ever-unfinished work of art, a place where function and aesthetics always come together. The key to it all? Water management – that is what our man-made landscape depends on. Water management underlies all and every innovation in the Dutch landscape. We are fully aware of comparable work in other parts in the world (in urbanized river deltas, for instance) where changes in man-made landscapes necessitate new engineering initiatives.
In our design projects, we are optimistic realists. We share the perspectives of the people and the processes that shape our landscape. Rather than rejecting changes in the landscape, even substantial ones, we do everything we can to fashion an environment that is both vibrant and beautiful. The result we aim at is a landscape full of identity, with a clear position in the course of history.
To us, it is also the continuity of the design that matters. We see landscape architecture as an integrating field of work. As landscape architects, we always endeavour to integrate input from other disciplines into new concepts. That’s why our projects nearly always involve specialists from other disciplines – town planning, ecology, hydrology, engineering, history, public administration: whatever the job requires.
The mechanisms of landscape (hydrology, ecology, history, transportation, place-making) are a continuing source of fascination to us. In our designs, we try to turn that fascination into formal and spatial principles and to add expression and symbolic meaning to them.
We are confident that this approach will help us rise above conflicts of interest. Nowadays, in 2008, private enterprises, government and individuals may all be involved in the planning process – whether at regional, area or locality scale – and these players may have widely differing aspirations. The goal of our design work at H+N+S is to achieve an expressive, integrative image which reflects the often complex, interpenetrating project requirements. An expressive image of this kind can bring diverse interest groups closer together and help them shift from their ingrained standpoints. Design can inject new energy into the situation and help unblock longstanding impasses. That’s what fires our enthusiasm.”