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Ponder and Focus

Late Autumn 2010 the Cascade weblog mentioned a design competition for a new belvedere or art work at De Hartekamp, in Heemstede. In a second post they provided us with a visual overview of the previous belverderes that had stood on top of this dune in the so-called Overtuin of the estate. 1)‘Overtuin’ is a term used for the part of the garden that is on the other side of a public road. It roughly translates as ‘the garden on the other side’. In most cases the Overtuin was a later extension to a property with an existing garden layout.
The winner of the design competition was Inbo in Rotterdam, with an entry called ‘Mijmer en Focus’ (Ponder and Focus).

Now the new belvedere is ready -but as far as I know not yet officially unveiled- it was time for me to take a look. The result can be seen below (click the HGimages link under this post for a small slideshow). I was there on a rainy day, so the photos are not quite as sparkly as they should have been. The photo in this post shows the remnants of the stairs belonging to the old tea pavilion that was demolished in the last century.

Mijmer en Focus 2013Landschap Noord-Holland, the owner of the Overtuin, presents an overview of different stages of the build here. A short overview of the associated restorations (including part of the garden where Carolus Linnaeus worked in the 1730s and where he wrote his Hortus Cliffortianus -but do not expect beds with plants and flowers) can be seen here (in Dutch). 2)This restoration plan was made by DS Landschapsarchitecten.

I must confess I am not thrilled by this design. It is too clunky for my taste, it feels as if all focus was directed at making this thing vandalism proof. The heavy construction of the cupola does the rest. In my view, Pondering and Focussing both thrive in an airy, light atmosphere and space, where all the weight of daily life is or can be left behind. This design seems to do quite the opposite: it embraces the weight of daily life. And it does not take prisoners.

But that may just be me. On the positive side: it does strengthen the view from the house and the road. And that was one of the aims.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. ‘Overtuin’ is a term used for the part of the garden that is on the other side of a public road. It roughly translates as ‘the garden on the other side’. In most cases the Overtuin was a later extension to a property with an existing garden layout.
2. This restoration plan was made by DS Landschapsarchitecten.
Summary

The new art work or belvedere in the Overtuin of De Hartekamp is ready now. The design by Inbo has not stolen my heart.

4 Responses to “Ponder and Focus”

  1. on 10 Jan 2013 at 10:53 amCharlotte Frost

    ‘Overtuin’ is a wonderfully handy word. Is there an English equivalent?

  2. on 11 Jan 2013 at 12:00 amHvdE

    Good question, Charlotte, and as English is not my first language, the answer is that I do not know. But if there is no word for it in the English language, why not use ours? The pronunciation of the ‘ui’-part of the term might prove to be difficult, but you’ll get the hang of it, I’m sure.

  3. on 11 Jan 2013 at 1:09 pmCharlotte Frost

    Thank you for sharing. ‘Overtuin’ is an elegant description, and I’m looking forward to using it.

  4. on 18 Nov 2014 at 10:15 pmHvdE

    Well, there you go: I called it ‘clunky’, ‘heavy’ and ’embracing the weight of life’.

    The jury of a newly installed Dutch architecture prize for young architects says: this design is a successful reinterpretation of an 18th century landscape element, set in a completely different time frame.
    I believe that last part refers to what I called ‘as if all focus was directed at making this thing vandalism proof.’

    Congratulations, Marlolein van Eig, for winning the Abe Bonnema prijs 2014! Here is the full jury-report (pdf, and in Dutch).

    At least I díd focus. And ponder.
    (I’ll go check my posts now, for I have probably already dismissed the winner of the next award, in 2016.)

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