Eleven Landscape Design master students of the Delft University of Technology started working on Innocastle learning cases in the province of Gelderland. In the spring of 2020, their research will be ready, after consultation of owners, specialists and governmental bodies, desk study, fieldwork, and design at different scales. 

Photo: TU Delft / Steffen Nijhuis

From the 19th till the 26th of September they participated in an exchange program with students of the Politecnico di Torino. In the exchange program, they explored the landscape assets of private and dispersed heritage properties and develop design strategies to engage them in future-proof landscape development. Estate landscapes throughout Europe face serious landscape challenges – shortage of water, spatial fragmentation, energy transition, loss of biodiversity. As these estate landscapes often occupy large portions of the region they have potentially a very large spatial impact. Also, the future of these heritage estates as historical and cultural beacons is under threat. 

Photo: TU Delft / Steffen Nijhuis

The focus of the exchange program was the landscape system of castles and historic country estates in Gelderland (NL) and Piedmont (IT). Strategically chosen learning cases will be elaborated via research-through-design to explore the possibilities of landscape architecture principles for sensitive water management, landscape coherence, ecological development, recreation, and energy transition at multiple scale levels.

The program enables researchers and students from different cultural backgrounds to compare findings, identify design principles, get inspired and develop alternative approaches to the protection and development of estate landscapes.

Activities took place in the Netherlands and Italy with lectures from academics, policymakers, practitioners and landowners, field trips, design workshops, presentations and preparation of the exhibition and publication.