Architects, engineers and designers teamed up to find a sustainable way to reduce the noise level around Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and they came up with a clever solution: building a garden around the airport. Now, we are not talking about a colorful garden filled with beautiful Dutch tulips, but a labyrinth landscape formed by trenches and ridges which cuts down airplane noise.
Image courtesy of Schiphol Airport
The garden, called “Buitenschot Land Art Park” was built around the Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The project is an artwork – after all it is signed by the Dutch land artist Paul de Kort – and also has a very practical function. According to its creators, who set up 35 noise monitoring points around the region, the 80-acre garden cuts the airport noise by 50%
Schiphol Airport is the main international gateway to the Netherlands and one of the largest airports in Europe, with around 1,600 takeoffs and landings every day. Due to its intense traffic, locals have been complaining about the noise since 2003.
Image source: H+N+S Landscape Architects
In 2008, while seeking a way to reduce the noise around Schiphol, researchers found that the noise level decreased in the fall when the farmers plowed their fields, creating furrows in the ground. The multiple ridges created on the ground would absorb the sound waves, deflecting the sound and muting the noise. Then it was just a matter of time for them to figure out a way to install this kind of noise reducing landscape around the airport.
Paul de Kort’s design for the Buitenschot Land Art Park was inspired by the 18th-century scientist and musician Ernst Chladni, who had shown the connection between geometric shapes and sound waves, a work which is now know as Chlandini’s patterns. De Kort created the garden with the help of a GPS to map 150 perfectly straight and symmetrical furrows with 1.8m high ridges between them. In the valleys, he designed parks and bike paths, while keeping the ridges covered with vegetation.
Airports in other cities in Europe and the United States are also studying the possibility of incorporating this exotic noise-absorbing landscape around their facilities.
Images: H+N+S Landscape Architects