Landscape architecture in the NetherlandsnewsSYMPOSIUM Reflecting on Education

SYMPOSIUM Reflecting on Education


On June 20th 2014, the DSL /International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) symposium ‘Reflecting on Education in Landscape architecture’ took place in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. Around 75 people participated in the Symposium.

A very mixed group of people attended the symposium: landscape architects, architects, lecturers, professors and students from several Dutch and European schools in landscape architecture. Key-note speaker Daniela Colafranceschi introduced the audience to the landscape of Calabria and the approach of the Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria in Italy. View her presentation.

After Daniela the five Dutch schools in Landscape architecture presented themselves in a seven minute pitch:

Reflecting in an international context

After the pitches the participants discussed the origin of the different Dutch schools and what this entails for today’s education. With the Academy having its roots in the arts, Wageningen in life and agricultural sciences, Delft in building sciences and architecture, HAS Den Bosch in agriculture and VH Larenstein in plants and classic garden & landscape design, the schools each have their own strength. Together they offer the complete package, a luxurious situation as all acknowledge. Collaboration will offer students from everywhere a unique range of possibilities.

Maaike van Stiphout (DS Landscape architects), the future head of landscape architecture of the Amsterdam Academy, emphasizes the value of VH Larenstein with their knowledge of plant material and ecological expertise. It is the foundation of our profession. The Academy has appointed Han Wiskerke (prof. Rural Sociology at Wageningen UR) as lector and will focus more strongly on the green aspects of landscape architecture in the coming years. In Delft the students come from all over the globe. That’s why the staff insist on having one central work room for all instead of working in several places and buildings, hopping around. One place is necessary to bring the level of students with different backgrounds closer together. HAS Den Bosch focuses on the skills needed to compete in today’s work field. The program wants to deliver entrepreneurs, assertive graduates and good story tellers.

Comments from Daniela Colafraceschi on the five Dutch Schools: many similarities, the Dutch programmes are highly specialized and have a long tradition. In many countries the main part of the study is in architecture, the landscape part of the program is small. In Italy the landscape architecture schools are young. Daniela addresses the question whether research and design are a problematic marriage. The audience: research is necessary for the future agenda.

Dirk Sijmons: Urban by Nature

During lunchtime participants visited the exhibition Urban by Nature. The afternoon session started with an extended presentation by Dirk Sijmons, curator of the IABR. Dirk Sijmons introduction to the IABR theme Urban by Nature and his essay ‘Walking up the anthropocene’ (download).

Topics panel discussion

The panel consists of Dirk Sijmons, Hanneke Kijne (Hosper landscape architects), Marieke Timmermans (Amsterdam Academy), Joeri de Bekker (HAS University) and Daniela Colafranceschi. They discuss several topics, from the task of a landscape architect, boundaries of the profession, the need for new mapping methods in the post ‘blue print era’, how to handle complexity of the questions and challenges, the need to cooperate with other disciplines, the data available nowadays and how to use it, how to express the processes related to all the presented data, how to turn all the data into beautiful landscapes, the future of geodesign, the want for more visiting teachers/ exchange with professional practice, adopting projects by schools. One conclusion everybody agrees on: addressing big issues can start with small projects.