Discover Germany, Issue 53, August 2017

Page 98

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Architecture Special Switzerland

Zeeheldentuin community gardens, The Hague 2014. Photo: © DGJ Landscapes and KNAB Brisgi competition design for Wohnbaustiftung Baden 2016. Photo: © Müller Sigrist Architekten, Meier Leder Architekten and DGJ Landscapes

DGJ Landscapes: global influence locally attached “Architecture is not a closed system – it is developed specifically for each task with regard to its respective context.” DGJ Landscapes derive from a deeply rooted architectural influence with an international background. At the same time, they strive to involve local communities in their projects to a high extent. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

Founded in 1999 as Drexler, Guinand and Jauslin Architects in Frankfurt, Zurich and Rotterdam, DGJ forms an enterprise ‘born global’. With a great deal of experience won with both public and private projects realised in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and China, the office has since gained much attention, winning multiple first prizes in competitions and many awards for their realisations. The Frankfurt-based branch today acts primarily in the field of sustainable design and energy-efficient buildings (DGJ Architektur GmbH), while the Zurich and The Hague offices have put a strong focus on landscape architecture over the past five years. From architectural composition of a landscape through to the fabrication of its details, DGJ strive to apply sustainable thinking as well as conscientious craftsmanship: “Good architecture and landscape design affords a multilayered, culturally anchored 98  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

perspective as well as a strategic, flexible design methodology.” Landscape design becomes a concept of creating a spatial connection between human being and environment. To achieve that, DGJ Landscapes like to include future users upfront – for example with their Zeeheldentuin project (realised with their own neighbours) near The Hague. Through the initiative of the residents, a former school ground was transformed into a thriving community garden, with the realisation passing “through many hands at many kitchen tables”. In 2006, a fire had destroyed the Maria school of the Zeehelden borough, a lively part of The Hague between the Peace Palace and the city centre. The community garden design, created with the input of the community between 2012 and 2015, gently follows the residents’ interests by putting them into a form that remains playfully flexible. Raised garden beds for example

are designed as labyrinths, in which children can roam freely without any danger of trampling down the seedlings. Sustainable solutions were integrated into the organic gardening concepts, such as a water course with hand pump, compost piles and many inventive applications made of recycled materials. Parents and children took part in the construction of the gardens on especially organised creative days. The Brisgi area design for a development in Baden, 20 kilometres downstream from Zurich, also features the theme of community-based landscaping. Together with the architects Müller Sigrist and Meier Leder, DGJ Landscapes won the 2016 competition for the design of a composition with three clusters of communal housing, which create open sights while connecting on three levels towards the river Limmat. The project will feature more than 150 apartments for varied target groups, with differentiated communal and public open spaces in a natural environment overlooked by a great number of balconies. The project is set to be finished by the beginning of the next decade.