The design of three wooden pavilions in the new landscape garden for Wonderryck, is part of the Provincial Museum of Natural History Natura Docet in the eastern part of the Netherlands.
The museum’s aim is to help people experience new things in the local environment and landscape of the Twente province. While the museum building was renovated by SeARCH, LOLA architects laid the basis for the overall park design and redesigned the garden.
A trail between the museum and the park leads visitors across a diversity of natural and cultivated landscapes. The three frameworks are variations on the park bench that is expanded with additional functions. Each has its own significance in enhancing a certain wildlife experience as a bees hotel, a living bridge or an ‘indoor’ biotope.
This last edifice stands on a roundabout and connects Natura Docet and its wild garden geographically with the old country estate Singraven. This ‘indoor biotope’ has the form of a house for humans, but is in fact intended for animals and plants only, humans are kept out with beams that block the doorway. Any flora and fauna that is eligible as a perfect roommate for symbiosis may enter and occupy the wooded bank expansion. Their private little house on the prairie is furnished with a mix of grasses, shrubs and a fruit tree which together have a year round blooming scheme. It attracts insects and is a great hiding and nesting place for birds and other small animals.
The pavilion is a green stepping stone towards the Singraven estate where road network cuts through the green zone and orbits around a bustling wildlife nucleus. Once inside their wooden house, the enclosing road defends the residents against predators like moats used to protect the residents of a castle.
The living bridge extends across a small fen and functions like a sort of ‘study diorama’ which frames the visitors view to, unlike most watchtowers, emphasize some of the details close by. The bridge is supposed to become completely covered with plants. People can observe nature through the wild Clematis that overgrows the wooden frame and study inside the cabin. Through the bottom you can see life in the water up close, the side window has a built-in bench with a wide view and the end faces the forest and forces the vision direction upward towards the birds in the trees. This references both the wunderkammers inside the museum as well as wildlife observatories in general.
Thirdly They designed a high-riser for bees and their (recently graduated) beekeepers. The bee tower is relevant to education in many ways. It provides the local beekeeping association with a space for their new practice and for a large colony of bees. The importance of these endangered insects in the food chain and their honey has an educational value for children and adults, because it touches on a subject of global importance.
The relation of bees to their foraging grounds is reflected in the chosen vegetation of hops. Hops easily reach up to 5 meters in height and have been proven to reduce parasitic mite populations in honey bee colonies. Also, the form of the building is derived from a salt tower. These are common in Twente, which once had a thriving industry of mining salt, a residue of the enclosed tropical sea millions of years ago.
The platform on top can be reached with a ladder and provides an outlook as well as a possibility to move the hive body high up on the platform, where bees feel at ease. The honey farmers can sell their honey and perform tasting sessions at the base of the bee tower.
Location: Denekamp, The Netherlands
Architects: Studio Makkink & Bey