A carriage, lacquered in black and oxblood, furnished with red baize, pulled by four horses across wet, glistening cobblestones. It is the early 18th century when a group of distinguished German travellers led by Conrad Zacharias von Uffenbach arrives in Deventer.
During his visit of the mayor’s house in this Hanseatic city, von Uffenbach is mesmerised by the beautiful, flowering tulip garden: a sea of wildly coloured flowers. In his travel diary, he writes about his amazement. Little could he have imagined that his diary would be the inspiration for the design of two new inner gardens – on more or less the same spot.
Tulip-shaped flower beds full of wild tulips, strawberry plants and herbs dominate the inner courtyards near the municipal offices of Deventer. Around it are solitary cherry, apple and pear trees. Not only do these provide fruit for picking, but they also work together with the flowerbeds to attract bees and butterflies.
Cobblestone paths, gates and alleyways connect the squares of this urban court with the city centre. Around the bike parking, a green wall with ferns and pellitory has arisen. High beech hedges divide public from private grounds. For visitors and residents, these inner areas and its oak benches are a pleasant space to while away some time.
The lively central courtyard serves as Deventer’s living room. The old mayor’s house is now the entrance to the courtyard complex. In the adjacent square, a mirror-surfaced pond can be found. Water gurgles from little water spouts in the wide bench. Shrubs, figs and shade-loving plants shift the dial from grey to green. The wisterias along the facades add intimacy. No wonder this courtyard is a favourite setting for marriages.
A sunlight study was part of the planning process and influenced the location of different functionalities and planting in the courtyards.
The shape of the southern courtyard is determined by the urban houses along the Polstraat and the new municipality offices. Because the back façade has no sun, it forced a design alternative to the traditional urban garden. Along the urban houses, a strip of land is set apart to serve as a second access route for residents. In the sunniest corners of the courtyard, seating elements are placed for public use, by residents, visitors and civil servants.
The northern courtyard is shaped by the urban houses along the Assenstraat and the new municipality offices. Its groomed facades, optimal sunlight orientation and multiple entryways make the garden fit for more intense use. The sunniest part is landscaped as a public outdoor lounge. Behind the houses lie private terraces. Flower-rich plantings give structure to the garden. A profusion of edible plants adds value to the garden, for both residents and civil servants.
Title: Outdoor areas Stadshof Deventer
Location: Deventer ciry center, NL
Size: 4409 m2
Client: Municipality of Deventer
Cooperation: Neutelings Riedijk Architecten
Type: Sketch design, preliminary design, final design, specification drawing
Image credits: BoschSlabbers, Hans van Bockel, Jan van de Ven, Gemeente Deventer
Project code: ZS 12-11