De Oostvaarders / Drost + van Veen architecten


Architects: Drost + van Veen architecten
Location: Alemere,
Project Architects: Evelien van Veen, Simone Drost
Collaborators: Onno Groen, Kees de Wit, Jos Lafeber, Bernhard Jaarsma, Perry Klootwijk
Client: Gemeente Almere
Contractor: Reimert Bouw
Structural Engineer: ABT Delft
Project year: 2009
Photographs: John Lewis Marshall, Ben te Raa & Roos Aldershoff

00_08_12_07 09_09-01-02 2009_000387 DSC200900958

Nature-education-centre “The Oostvaarders” is situated in a unique nature reserve in Europe: The Oostvaardersplassen in Almere, The Netherlands. The building is constructed at a junction of various landscapes with the different characters of land, water, forest and reed fields. To serve a wide audience there is an information room, classroom, panorama-room, restaurant and representative meeting-room: the new icon of Almere-Buiten.

volumetric study diagrams
volumetric study diagrams


The Oostvaarders presents itself in two different shapes. From the parking the shape is inviting, like a vertical beacon rising from the plain. On the contrary the shape from the lakeside is horizontal, connecting with the extensive dyke and water.

On the first floor the panorama-room, with a large horizontal window, gives a great view over the lake. The entrance of the building is situated at the foot of the dyke. From the entrance the visitor climbs the stairs to the crow’s nest: an exterior space to view the environment. This movement is emphasized by a continous sightline through the building that connects the entrance and the crow’s nest.



In order to minimize a disruption in the surrounding natural environment, the buildingtime was reduced to a minimum. Therefore, the building is constructed in prefab, massive, wooden walls and floors. The LenoTec walls are fabricated in Finnland. The use of these prefabricated elements made an eight meter overhang over the lake possible. In addition, wood is a light material with a high isolation. The natural expression of this material remains visible in the interior, like in a wooden cottage.



The facades are constructed of prefab, timbered pinewood, elements in different patterns and textures. The perforations in the facade vary in direction and size. By framing the view everytime in a different way, the visitor will learn to observe the environment.

Cite: "De Oostvaarders / Drost + van Veen architecten" 05 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Mookie Wilson

    Um, cool building, but I think they need to rethink their flood control plan. Is that a decorative dyke?

    • Case DeVisser

      I agree, very cool building. And as far as flood control, I don’t think anyone knows more about that than the dutch!

  • mike

    sections please!!

    • Joshua


  • Jason

    Beautiful project. I think the yellow on the interior and the grey siding on the exterior compliment each other perfectly. Love the photos with the water surrounding it.

  • dru

    good looking building profile…

  • oscar falcón lara

    Brilliant how they deducted the final solution, at least in the sketch depicting the added shapes. The triangular floor plan seems so very practical and yet, somehow the whole building at first might not give that impression, being almost at waters edge. Good job.

  • Rasha

    The building appears to be growing from nature especially in the second picture. It looks like a continuation of the brown trees. This is what architecture ought to be, a part of the environment and an enhancement of it.

  • Andrew Geber

    so futuristic, especially with the ice!

  • tsaB

    very inspiring building. i would like to add that the contrast of the inner shell declares clearly the entry and makes it accessible to visually impaired people..

    good work!

  • Pingback: Judit Bellostes : centro de la naturaleza - oostvaarders, nature center , Estudio de arquitectura

  • Tom W

    Beautiful photos, whoever took them. Really like the contrast between the dark wood and the bright interior. I’m glad the building ended up looking the way it did as opposed to the patchwork green exterior as shown those initial early sketches.

  • Archlad

    Would love to see it live. Great project.

  • Tanja

    Looks great and very well balanced. Congratulations!

  • Mr. Cheap

    Skip the diagrams please. I don’t see how that has been the formation of the house. Arrows and symbols are meaningless to explain the project. I like the fact that you meet a tall and manifested building, and then enter into a wider landscape with a relation to the surroundings. There are no diagrams to explain this.

    I also think the project has poor detailing and material usage from what one can see in theese images. It doesn’t refine and strengthen the project, only weakens it.

    It’s nice, but it’s not sufficiently controlled and executed.