The Skoatterwâld estate is part of a Vinex development next to the old Oranjewoud estate near Heerenveen. In Ashok Bhalotra’s urban-design plan, the estate was included as a combination walking park and residential area, and the idea was to finance the park using the proceeds from one luxury apartment building. When it turned out that there was no market in Heerenveen for very expensive homes, the brief called for turning into a ‘middle-class estate’, with 56 homes for the middle market segment. These homes were supposed to generate enough money, without taking up too much space, to make the public park a reality.
Country estates in Britain and France served as models for the ways in which compact, closed constructions and the landscape can coexist. One reference for the design was John Wood the Elder’s Royal Crescent in Bath, where a semi-circular line of buildings catches an entire landscape with great volume. Another important inspiration was Marly, the now demolished country estate of Louis XIV in France. Marly is a model of how you can create an estate between parallel rows of buildings. In Heerenveen, the buildings were similarly laid out in strips on either side of the park. An architectural reference was Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, England, an estate from the reign of Elizabeth I. Here one finds a continuous line of buildings with towers and lower intermediary sections, in masonry and with a great deal of glass. In Heerenveen, this resulted in the same continuous brick castle structure with numerous windows.
The linked rows of buildings in Heerenveen were given depth by making some volumes black and others white, so that the latter stand out. In order to make the white towers more vertical, white swans were installed on the roof, a reference to the traditional ûleboarden atop Frisian farmhouses. The black buildings were given contour with a cornice of spear-shaped obelisks. On the park side of the continuous castle structure are conservatories with large picture windows. They are slightly elevated, in order to create a separation between the private realm of the home and the public area and to optimize the view of the estate between the buildings from the living rooms.
[A] Sjoerd Soeters
[P] 54 residences
[G] 8,926 m2
[C] Heijmans Vastgoed Realisatie