Architects: Drost + van Veen architecten
Location: Alemere, The Netherlands
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
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.
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.