Student - January 13, 2011

'Preference for fresh insights'

The provincial nature organization Geldersch Landschap is soon going to be building four wildlife viewing huts. They will be based on a design by VHL student Simon Marsman.

 'Viewing wild animals from behind Simon Marsman's wall.'
'We had already visited fellow organizations in the Hoge Veluwe nature area and the Crown estate to get some ideas for the new wildlife viewing huts', says Ab van Dijk, the project manager at Geldersch Landschap. 'But rather than copying something that already exists, we thought it would be nice to have someone take a fresh look.' They soon came up with Van Hall Larenstein, where Van Dijk himself is taking a part-time degree in Nature and Landscape Engineering.
Geldersch Landschap has eleven thousand hectares of forestry, nature and agricultural lands but only one viewing hut. Four more are planned for installation this year. So a group of third-year Garden and Landscape Architecture students got busy designing. The students had to come up with a viewing hut with capacity for 25 people and which merges into the natural surroundings. On top of that, it had to be made from natural materials taken from the organization's own land, such as wood, heather sods or vegetation.

Simple and affordable
The result was in fifteen designs. 'All the models were interesting in their own way, but it has to be feasible and affordable', explains Van Dijk. That was the case for Simon Marsman's design. He had thought up a viewing wall for a location in Loenermark consisting of triangular shapes and built along the same principles as a log cabin. Logs cut flat along two sides with indentations at the end are stacked on top of each other. 'While very simple, the construction technique is multifunctional', says Van Dijk.
Simon Marsman thinks it is wonderful that his design has been chosen. 'I got the idea when I saw the straight line from which you can view the open land at Loenermark. Then I experimented with different stacking techniques. Fortunately, I did a lot of building during a previous course for gardeners.'

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