year | 2018
place | Moerslag
category | leisure
In a very sensitive landscape and environment in which building is not permitted, the assignment was, to develop a unique programmatic and very landscape friendly intervention for Limburg and the Euregion.
The location, Moerslag, in Sint Geertruid (municipality of Eijsden-Margraten), is situated within the characteristic landscape of the South Limburgian Mergelland. This landscape is characterized by its slopes, its scattered courtyard farms and estates surrounded by fruit orchards and high hedges, with at their perimeter the fields and meadows with small field barns as shelter for the cattle. It is a wide and yet limited landscape, with hollow roads, so called graften, small height differences in the landscape marked by shrubs and hedges and at the horizon forests, slopes and hilltops.
The elongated plot, situated on such a typical graft, is situated on the northern border of the property. The location itself and the search for a unique program formulated the preconditions that enabled the development of a new typology, based on the concept of location specific recreation called: ‘nature lofts’.
Part of the intervention was the restoration of the connecting ecological zone between the two empty roads, which included a specific form of Ecotourism that in terms of architecture should be based on the principle of the barn in the landscape.
Despite not being an imitation of the barn, the design strongly refers to the barns’s quality of merging in its existing natural and built environment. A camouflaged architecture that does not imitate its environment by means of visual replication, but such as a dazzle painting, transforms into shapes and forms that assemble in unity with its surrounding.
These so-called nature lofts are simple wooden structures which break through the ‘graften’. Therefore, they appear relatively low and enclosed on the side of the property and high and open on the side of the landscape. The lofts not only provide a view to the landscape, they become part of the landscape. They enable the user to be part of the landscape by fading the boundaries between inside and outside, artificial and natural.
The design includes five volumes, which are identical in their exterior appearance. However, each volume represents a different theme in its interior space. These themes refer to the local culture and the natural environment. The interior differentiation achieves a diversity in the use, atmosphere and experience of the spaces, which is concealed in the uniform language of the overal intervention.
The realization of the nature lofts was an architecture based on craftsmanship, to support the local craftsmen. We let the beauty of the imperfection of nature reflect onto the nature lofts, by using materials that age beautifully but imperfectly.
Design - Realization: 2015 - 2018
Address: Moerslag 32, St. Geertruid, Eijsden-Margraten
Client: Landgoed Moerslag
Project Team: Jo Janssen, Wim van den Bergh, Alexander Brepoels, Andi Belulaj