The Nieuwe Ooster

karres+brands: Cemeteries have always been, and still are, reflections of society: they provide an image of the relationship between the collective and the individual, the social relations of the time, the overall natural scene, the funerary culture and developments in the field of design and landscape architecture. Karres and Brands created a design for the garden of remembrance of the Nieuwe Ooster cemetery in Amsterdam, the largest cemetery (in terms of numbers of graves) in the Netherlands. The Nieuwe Ooster was laid out in three phases: in 1889, 1915 and 1928. The first and second phases were designed by Leonard Springer. These sections have a clear spatial quality all of their own, but the third phase does not share this quality. It bears a resemblance to the style of Springer, but is not the same. Adaptations and expansions have left it devoid of structure and identity. The garden of remembrance lies within this phase.

Instead of spatially linking the three zones, we found it necessary to give each area its own separate identity. By increasing the contrasts, a clear triple division of the cemetery is brought about, so that the qualities of each individual zone are brought into relief. A new identity has been created for the third phase. A robust but simple intervention was called for here. The basis is a zone with parallel strips of varying widths, each with its own design principle. Within this unambiguous structure, choices are made possible for individual wishes. Some of the strips include hedges that divide the zone into spatial compartments. The existing graveyards and the garden of remembrance are incorporated into the zone like rooms with green edges. Birch trees are loosely spread throughout the zone as a whole. An elongated pond and an urn wall form spatial accents, and a special destination for cremation ashes.

Landscape Architecture: karres+brands
Client: The Nieuwe Ooster cemetery, garden of remembrance for crematorium
Location: Watergraafsmeer, Amsterdam
Area: cemetery total 33 hectares, garden of remembrance 1 hectare
Budget: € 1,600,000
Design: 2004
Construction: 2005 – 2007
Team: Sylvia Karres, Bart Brands, Lieneke van Campen, Joost de Natris, James Melsom, Alejandro Noe, Marc Springer, Jim Navarro, Julien Merle, Pierre-Alexandre Marchevet
Specifications and direction: Rod’or Technical Advice Bureau
Construction by: Van der Toll
Charon design: Maria van Kesteren

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