Text description provided by the architects. In collaboration with Van Paridon X de Groot landscape architects, DAAD Architects has designed Natuurderij KeizersRande for Stichting IJssellandschap. This biodynamic dairy farm, which also has a public and educational function, is located at an extraordinary spot along the IJssel near Diepenveen, where the lower and higher floodplains meet. The design allows the grounds to be flooded. Natuurderij KeizersRande is an extension of the existing KeizersRande estate.
Sustainable farming, estate development, and environmental and water management are interconnected in this project. Starting point was the layout of the higher floodplains, as proposed by Van Paridon x de Groot landscape architects, which is part of the national ‘Ruimte voor de Rivier’ [Space for the River] programme. The grounds of the Natuurderij were designed like a mound, comprising three terraces at different heights (6.6, 7 and 7.4 m), ensuring flow into the floodplains at all water levels.
Parts of the grounds will flood on a regular basis, but the farm needs to continue to operate and the house needs to remain accessible. The Natuurderij has not been hidden in the landscape, but has been made manifest spatially, by positioning it exactly at the transition between higher and lower grounds, ensuring the water floods towards it, and by putting a sturdy, concrete retaining wall, which increases in height, starting on the forest side, up to 3 metres on the Ijssel side.
Alongside the core activities of the farm, there is space for education, leisure activities and living. Seen from the Ijssel the Natuurderij manifests itself as an estate with a representative front. The clean functions are all located at the front of the grounds, including the house, the reception and public areas. Highlight is the publicly accessible balcony that overlooks the IJssel, with shallow stairs that also function as a bench.
Connecting to the stairs, two monumental tree-lined avenues will be installed in the coming year, which will lead visitors and walkers through the floodplain landscape to that side of the grounds. The stables are located in the centre of the grounds, while work on the provincial road is going on at the back. The differences in height have also been applied to clearly demarcate what are the public and what are the private parts.
The most eye catching elements of the project are the roof and the grounds. By way of a straightforward roof, visible construction elements and a black edge, the Natuurderij references the former stone factories in the area. The space between roof and yard differs in height, transparency and materials used.
The recognisable main shape is compartmentalised through the use of different rhythms and levels of transparency, through which the buildings presents itself differently from different angles. In aiming for the building to not only be sustainable in how it can be managed, but also in the use of materials, felled oak trees have been used for the building’s construction and slats have been used as façade covering. Stacked straw bales have been used too. Through these temporary facades, useful internal spaces can be constructed.