71.312 trees and a landing strip for swans

Rural estate Kogelhof

Rural estate Kogelhof

Rural estate Kogelhof

Rural estate Kogelhof

Rural estate Kogelhof

The essence

A modern rural estate in a Zeeland polder

Heavy clay soils, saline air. A humming tractor ploughs sharp lines into the polder soil. Wind turbines operate at capacity beneath wild clouds. In the wider vicinity, little else is visible but straight fields and the horizon. The landscape of Noord-Beveland is not for everybody; an area of wilful, stark beauty.

The object that most stands out in the emptiness is a traffic sign, warning of crossing wildlife. Next to it is a recently planted tree meadow. Easy to miss, but this is the entrance to a new, ultramodern rural estate.

In the middle of this Zeeland polder, 25 hectares of potato land transformed into a bold landscape of waving white poplars and shooting shrubs. The shape of this modern rural estate is determined by its massive woodland blocks, tree meadows and large pond. Routing leads the visitor along elegantly flowing pathways to an idiosyncratic eco-villa and the formidable pond. The grounds are a protected area, part of Natuur Netwerk Nederland, the Dutch Nature Network.

Macquette villa Kogelhof
Jan van Minnebruggen

“Before the villa could be built, we first designed its surroundings. We transformed 25 ha of potato land into a robust eco-estate. This created the right conditions for a successful building permit application.”

– Jan van Minnebruggen, project manager BoschSlabbers

Waterpartij vijver bij Kogelhof
The approach

Horizontal eyecatcher

The giant, Z-shaped pond is a horizontal eyecatcher. Passing clouds are mirrored in its waters. Its longest side is 380 meters long, with a width of 30 meters. It is the size of almost ten Olympic swimming pools; a luxury landing strip for swans. The water has –because of its position along the Eastern Atlantic migratory route – a logical attraction for passing birdlife. At the short end of the pond is the location of the house: Villa Kogelhof. The garden around it is planted with many types of plants and grasses.

Smart moves

The reconstruction of the estate was done with a closed mass diagram: not a single shovel of earth left the grounds. A sensible approach: to create the enormous pond, some 70.000 cubic metres of soil had to be removed, adding up to roughly 122 million kilos. All the better, then, that this huge volume did not have to travel far. It has been used to shape two hills on the grounds. These elevated earthworks make for a range of different soil conditions, to enhance the estate’s biodiversity.

Vogelvlucht Landgoed Kogelhof

“The jury considers the way the commissioner, BoschSlabbers landscape architects and architect Paul de Ruiter have shaped opportunities for rural development to be highly interesting and valuable – especially in a region of economic contraction. Here, not only an architectural statement was made; a new kind of heritage was created. In ten years, this will be dense woodland, but already plenty of birds and bats have found their way here.”

– Jury report nomination BNA Building of the Year, 2014

Interesting detail

A net zero villa

Crossing the bridge, glimpses of the modern residence are already visible. It was designed in close relationship with its surroundings. A ramp leads to its underground entrance. On the roof, 280 m2 of solar panels are installed: more than enough energy for the house and its inhabitants. On the top floor, large glass walls provide endless views on the garden, the polder landscape and the famous Oosterschelde Storm Barrier on the horizon.

Vogelvlucht Kogelhof Kamperland

Architects’ assessments

BoschSlabbers developed the main designs of the estate, and took care of the planning permits in cooperation with De Bakker Makelaardij. The engineering, the earthmoving permits, the technical specifications, the tendering and the supervision of construction were also done by BoschSlabbers.

Landgoed Kogelhof Kamperland

Project data

Title: Rural estate Kogelhof

Location: Kamperland, Noord-Beveland, Zeeland, NL

Size: 25 ha

Client: Private

Cooperation: De Bakker Makelaardij, Paul de Ruiter Architecten

Contractor: H4A

Duration: 2006-2013

Type: Design, specifications, implementation supervision

Price/publication: Received many (inter) national awards, especially for the relationship between nature & architecture

Image credits: BoschSlabbers, Peter Buteijn, Jeroen Musch, MJ webdesign

Project code: ZT 06-07