West 8

| Adriaan H. Geuze (*1960)



West 8
landscape architects & urban planners

The West 8 landscape architects and urban planners office was set up in 1987 as an international team of architects, urban designers and industrial designers. West 8 designs urban plans, squares, parks and gardens. The philosophy of West 8 is deeply rooted in an optimistic attitude towards the contemporary landscape, in which it expresses both the vulnerability and the euphoria of mass culture. Landscape, infrastructure, nature and archaeology coalesce to form vital constituents of the city. Arcadian landscapes coexist alongside the dynamic, mutable and sprawling city unimpeded by architectural doctrines or history, the city stretches towards the horizon or shoots skywards. Space has acquired new dimensions that constantly put the sense of scale and proportion to the test. West 8 draws inspiration from the poetic beauty of the artless and the mundane. The urban dweller is no pitiful victim needing compensation in the form of green and nature ; today's urbanite is a self-assured, exploratory, creative individualist. He is well-informed and affluent, and equipped with the most up-to-date technology. he is an explorer and manipulator of his surroundings. The design of this environment demands a sensitivity that goes beyond the creation of mere decorative nature. The city produces its own wastelands. Severed from the traditional centre by railway lines, motorways and fly-overs, new dispersed centres are created. That their identity is not fixed in advance is neither good nor bad. In its urban design work the office seeks to devise powerful building typologies that are attuned to the landscape and public space. A sharp line is drawn between private and public space in order to engender a sense of contrast. West 8's designs for public spaces reveal the office's fascination for emptiness as a condition. Within the urban fabric, West 8 creates quasi-unprogrammed spaces that can be colonised at will by urbanites. Potential play surfaces are demarcated in a two-dimensional, graphic design by different materials such as steel, glass, wood and rubber. The sparsely distributed objects in public spaces acquire the quality of totems or icons. They furnish the location with identity and lure the urbanite. Large wooden benches boldly face the sunshine. Bridges evocative of reptiles ask to be climbed. The lighting in public spaces often creates the sense of the surreal through the use of large movable spotlights or coloured lamps shining from tree stumps. The knowledge that the contemporary landscape is for the most part artificial and made up of different components, both designed and undesigned, allows West 8 the freedom to respond by positing its own narrative spaces. The basic ingredients are ecology, infrastructure, weather conditions, building programs and people. The aim is to incorporate the awareness of these various aspects in a playful optimistic manner that stimulates the desire to conquer and take possession of space. Gardens form the only exception. The organised world of commerce, functionality and efficiency finds its necessary counterpart in specific spaces that appeal to uncertainty, mortality, desire and perversity. The gardens are enclosed and withdrawn from the world. It is here that the human dwellers can literally retreat into themselves.

West 8

west 8


Living in the City
Londres, Angleterre, 1999

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west 8
"Living in the City" is a manifesto for new urban conditions to accommodate dwellings as an alternative to sprawl. This ambition fully benefits from the potential of derelict sites. This entry for the Bishops Gate site investigates the combination of small scale/high density development, the archaeology of the existing site and the implantation of an artificial landscape. Within the existing structure, an urban tissue will be derived though precise excavation. The historic arches will absorb a highly diversity of program such as shops, studios, community facilities and services. On top of the arches a colonisation process will start, based on a small-scale parcelation grid (derived from the existing structure). Once the number of new levels exceeds the threshold limit, the existing structure is reinforced, or removed to carry new structure and higher loads. In this low rise - high dense area three magnificent landscape features will be raised : the peaks. These rocks with Arcadian nature and micro biotopes will be icons of urban nature on the scale of London.


Amsterdam, Pays-Bas, 1993-1997

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west 8

Adriaan Geuze designed the urban plan and architectural specifications of this project, situated near the very centre of Amsterdam, in the eastern part of the docks, on the twin wet docks of Borneo and Sporenburg. He proposes to create a model of semi-detached individual accommodation of high density in order to bring an answer to the very particular context of this project : namely to satisfy, on the one hand, a strong demand for individual housing and, on the other hand, the real estate profitability. 2 500 homes thus form a dense coat (100 units/hectare) punctuated with several higher buildings. To conciliate the dictate of density and the idea of the individual house, Adriaan Geuze explores new intermediary housing typologies and radically diverts the pattern of individual houses in blocks widely spread out in the Netherlands. Here, the public space is merely reduced to the street ; the houses on three floors - flat roof - are equipped with private gardens that become enclosed terraces or patios, thus enabling steady flow and transparency in spite of the compactness of the design.

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St Marteendijk, Hollande, 1999
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Secret Garden
Malmö, Suède, 1999

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west 8
west 8

Situated on a landfill area the proposed garden dreams of the sea. It consists of an enclosed dark mikado forest cut into the shape of a cube with a side length of 12 meters. It is a mysterious garden to find your way through and to move in. Surrounded by a wall of logs of pine trunks it is an atmospheric interior made of pine trunks with a maximum length of 17 meters. The ground is covered with blueberries. When walking in the garden you discover a big shell belonging to another world. If you glance up you see the sky through three holes cut into a thick layer of seashells. Parts of huge rocks lying on the surface are visible. It is possible to climb up through the garden to this other lever by using ladders. Up here on the sea level the atmosphere is different and focuses on the nearby Öresund. The floor is covered with 60 centimetres of shells and several smooth rocks stick up to sit down and relax. Two big shells lie on the shell surface and collect water. The garden enables an imaginary relationship between the ocean and the Swedish forest.


West 8 Landscape Architects & Urban Planners

Adriaan H. Geuze (1960)

1979/1987 – Master's degree Landscape Architecture, Agricultural University, Wageningen
1987 – Création de l'Agence West 8 Landscape Architect b.v. à Rotterdam

Enseignement (sélection)

1999/1992 – Technical University, Delft
1997 et 1995 – Harvard University, School of Design, Boston
1995 – University of Amsterdam ; De Appel, Amsterdam
1994 – Institut Saint Luc, Bruxelles ; Architektur Zentrum, Vienne

Principaux projets et réalisations

2000/1991 – "Landscaping Schiphol - a Green Strategy for the Airport" (en cours)
1999 – "Secret Garden" jardin, Malmö (projet) ; "Skywalk from Zoo to Zoo" passerelle, Emmen (réalisée) ; "Living in the City" manifeste urbain, Londres (projet) ; "Makeblijde" St-Marteen, jardin (projet) ; "Jubilee Gardens" et "Chiswick Park" Londres (réalisés) ; "Design for Temporary Agricultural Garden" Weil am Rhein, Allemagne (projet) ; "Urban Design for the Headquarters of the AMSF" Seregno, Italie (projet)
1998 – "Between Sky and Water" Ponts, Borneo/Sporenburg (projet) ; "Tree Trunks in Twylight Forest" Square, Carrascoplein, Amsterdam (réalisé) ; "Highway Water Jet" Vlotho, Allemagne (concours) ; "Square West" Utrecht (réalisé) ; "Cimetière de Venise" extension (concours)
1997 – "Borneo/Sporenburg" plan d'aménagement pour 2500 résidences, Amsterdam (94/97) "Schouwburgplein" place publique, Rotterdam (réalisée) ; "Schiphol-Oost" Masterplan (projet) ; "Central Park Leidsche Rijn" (lauréat) ; "Front de mer" Thessalonique, Grèce (lauréat ex-æquo)
1996 – "Landscape Design Eastern Scheldt" Rijkswaterstaat (projet)
1995 – "Bench Bridge" Utrecht (réalisé) ; "Market Stalls" mâts d'éclairage, Rotterdam (réalisé) ; "Kroller-Muller Museum" réaménagement, Otterloo (réalisé) ; "Interpolis Headquarters" jardin, Tillburg (réalisé)
1994 – "Südraum Leipzig" Design/Landscape (projet)

Publications récentes d'Adriaan Geuze/West 8

1999 – "Engineer Meets Poet" éditions Aedes, Berlin
1997 – "Landschap in Acceleratie" "90.000 Pakjes Margarine, 100 meter vooruit" catalogue d'exposition, Groningen
1996 – "Colonizing the Void" VIème Biennale d'Architecture de Venise ; "Accelerating Darwin" Scoope, Cambridge Architecture Journal n°8 ; "New Parks for New Cities" Lotus (fév.) ; "Adriaan Geuze/West 8. Landscape Architecture" Rotterdam ; "Het Vemmende Succes. Maaskantlezing van Adriaan Geuze" De Architect n°2

Bibliographie sélective

1999 – NZZ Folio (sept.)
1998 – De Architect (juil./août) ; Bauwelt n°30 ; "Hypersurface Architecture" Architectural Design n° 133 ; "Architecture in the Netherlands, Yearbook 97/98" Rotterdam ; Lotus n°96 ; Architectural Review (janv.)
1997 – Quaderns - Lands Arch n°217 ; International Landscape Architecture, Barcelone ; Lotus n°94 ; De Architect (mars, juil./août, sept. et nov.) ; Bauwelt n°43 /44 ; "Architecture in the Netherlands, Yearbook 96/97" Rotterdam ; Werk, Bauen+Wohnen n°10 ; Domus n°797 ; Archis n°9 ; Quaderns n°217 ; Daidalos n°65 ; Landscape Architecture n°7 ; Archithese n°3 ; Topos n°l9 ; Archis n°3 et 4
1996 – A+U n°3 13 ; Quaderns - Forum International n° 1 ; Studio Works 4, Harvard University, Cambridge ; Abitare n° 354 et 356 ; De Architect n° 2 et 11 ; Blueprint n°133 ; "International Landscape Design" R. Holden, Londres ; Topos n°16 ; Werk, Bauen+Wohnen n°l l ; Bauwelt n°37 ; l'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui n°306 ; Quaderns n°211