#06 Academic work


51° 44′ 43.3″N, 4° 51′ 47.5″E


Projectname: P4 Jannezand polder
Project tutors: Harro de Jong, Nike van Keulen
Client: Staatsbosbeheer
Location: Jannezandpolder, Bieschbosch
Surface: 350+ ha
Year: 2015
Notes: This project was selected by the Academy to be submitted for the International Biennial of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona in 2016 > more

Lijn_0.25Polder Jannezand 01 R Meek [1200px]

Move a mountain 

The project ‘Move a mountain’ is a sustainable design proposal for Jannezand-polder in its context. The Jannezand-polder is located in, or attached to, the Biesbos, one of the Nederland’s largest nature reserves. The Biesbos was formed by the continuous influence of the River Rhine and the tides of the North Sea. The Jannezand-polder, and other polders in this area, were created by human embankments and land reclamation. People used the fertile clay deposits for agriculture. Today, agriculture in the polders is determined by fossil inputs, for both land cultivation as fertilizer. In view of the growing world population and the finite nature of fossil resources, I looked in the context of the polder for alternatives. 

Agriculture requires two key elements: energy and nutrients. Because of the many floods that have plagued the country in the past we have become afraid of the power and energy that the Rhine holds. For years we fought the river and made higher and safer dikes but we have forgotten the advantages of our delta and river. In a abstract view the Rhine is one large source of energy that brings continuous fertile sediment from the Alps to our country. With this data, I developed a new farming system for the Jannezand-polder. The polder can be flooded ‘fertilized’ in compartments. This procedure will lead to a decrease in productivity but also offers a lot of opportunities for ecology, recreation and new forms of agriculture. In short, a bio-diverse landscape. As a last benefit it is a long-term strategy for our Dutch country, mainly located below sea level, to slowly rise the land above sea-level and thus respond to the expected climate issues. This strategy could be used in broader form in the Netherlands or abroad.

Polder Jannezand 02 R Meek [1200px]


Polder Jannezand 03 R Meek [1200px]

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Polder Jannezand 05 R Meek [1200px]


Polder Jannezand 06 R Meek [1200px]


Polder Jannezand 07 R Meek [1200px]


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Polder Jannezand 10 R Meek [1200px]


Polder Jannezand 11 R Meek [1200px] Polder Jannezand 12 R Meek [1200px]


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Polder Jannezand 15 R Meek [1200px]





 +52° 12′ 39.53″, +5° 57′ 38.81″


Projectname: P3a RE-Public Soestdijk
Project tutors: Bruno Vermeersch
Client: Amsterdam Academy of Architecture
Location: Paleis Soestdijk, Soest
Surface: 40+ ha
Year: 2014

Lijn_0.25Repulick Soestdijk 01 R Meek [1200px]

‘Re-public Soestdijk’ 

‘210 chambers’ is a catalogue of prohibited rooms in the vacant palace Soestdijk. The booklet is made to shows the potential of the current palace. The proposal responds to a checkmate situation between the RGD, potential developers and the Royal family. The plan aims to facilitate the transition from Royal Palace Soestdijk towards Soestdijk, a ‘normal’ building. The proposal allows the royal family to slowly get used to a new alternate life that can take place in the vacant chambers of Soestdijk.

Soestdijk Palace is abandoned and vacant. After the death of Prince Bernhard in 2005 the monarchy left the palace and vacancy has taken up residence. Since that time the Dutch State has to make a move but it seems that they, with an annual price tag of two million euros, became an incompetent heir. The government does only want to repurpose when all corners of the domain are examined: Two million per year! With that money Christo will wrap the entire Palace in whole or Olufar Eliasson will let the sun come up in every room. Other participating partners are herewith still equally disregarded. The plan ‘210 chambers’ takes the scepter of Soestdijk over and fired the government of its investigative role. From State to Re-public.


210 Chambers from Roeland Meek on Vimeo. The booklet is a catalogue of vacant chambers in the palace. It shows the potential of the vacant palace and besides the design proposal is shown.


Checkmate locked-up emotions

Probably against their will, the once so beloved Palace by Juliana and Bernard is nowadays closed to all forms of liveliness. Since 2006 the Palace is open to the public. However the greater part of the palace is not public. In 210 chambers of the palace, access will be denied. The real soul of the Palace is kept secret behind the locked doors and closed windows. It seems like the transience of time may not be part of the Palace. But who decides weather these chambers cannot be seen, or may be used? 


Personally I don’t believe in finding a new reuse for the palace. Existing studies show that enough viable plans and designs are already made. It seems that our Royal family over and over again rejects them. Apparently they cannot let go of the palace where they grew up and locked so many emotional memories. In the current situation a kind of checkmate relation has arisen between the RGD (Government Buildings Agency), the potential developers and the Royal family.


The plan ‘210 Chambers’ responds to this checkmate relation by not so much trying to find a redesignation for the palace but rather to facilitate the transition. The transition from Palace Soestdijk to Soestdijk (a ‘normal’ building). It should be seen as a first move back in the game of chess to solve the arisen checkmate situation. Only then space will arise which will lead to a new sustainable redevelopment.

Vacancy catalogue

In the draft proposal, the secret rooms are literally pulled out of the building and added to the park as extra layer. In this way a statement is made and the real potency of the vacant Palace is revealed and uncovered. This is also structure and reading guide of this book. It is a collection of all prohibited and vacant chambers of the palace. In-between the vacancycatalogue the design intervention is presented. By showing the multitude of chambers in this catalogue, already a statement is made. Without the actual intervention you can already feel the potential of the palace.


Repulick Soestdijk 02 R Meek [1200px]


The current appearance of the royal palace is white and transparent with an accessible and public character. But the opposite is true. As visualized in the x-ray above, showing the public space verses the inaccessible – probably empty – space in the palace.

Repulick Soestdijk 03 R Meek [1200px]


Design concept

The vacant rooms are pulled out of the palace and added as extra layer to the park. The design can be seen as an statement which shows the real potency of the vacant Palace. The rooms are placed in the park using a rational grit that responds to the landscape. 



Repulick Soestdijk 04 R Meek [1200px]


Transition design

The chambers are not exact copies of the original rooms. Nobody knows how they actually look like. The only fixed element in the translation towards folly is the floor plan, the doorways and windows of the space. The rooms are placed in the park using a rational grit. The grit responds to the landscape, the pond and the current entrance. By using the grit, interesting unexpected crossings arise. By pulling the chambers out of the palace, and positioning them as follies in the park live can also be brought back again. The seasons will be visible again through the windows, Daylight can shine on the walls and floors again, and above all they are public for people to enter. This proposal allows the royal family to slowly get used to a new alternate life that can take place in the chambers of Soestdijk.


Repulick Soestdijk 05 R Meek [1200px]

The plan drawing shows the position of the various chambers from the catalogue, projected in the park. Only on the island in the English landscape pond a cluster of rooms can be found


Repulick Soestdijk 06 R Meek [1200px]

The Island Cluster 

The rooms that would be placed in the pond because of the grit are clustered in the English landscape pond on the island. This object has a more permanent character compared to the follies on the grit. The objects aim is to create wonder for the chambers and to serve as a memorial place.


Repulick Soestdijk 07 R Meek [1200px]

Repulick Soestdijk 08 R Meek [1200px]

Repulick Soestdijk 09 R Meek [1200px]

Repulick Soestdijk 10 R Meek [1200px]

Repulick Soestdijk 11 R Meek [1200px]

Pop-up model of the Island Cluster as part of the catalogue presentation


Repulick Soestdijk 12 R Meek [1200px]

 Catalog booklet

‘Re-public Soestdijk’ started as a curriculum for the P3a Master’s program at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture. This assignment was written as a reaction to its original: ‘Redeveloping Soestdijk’, Written by Riemer Knoop, lecturer at the Reinwardt institute. For me as a designer, the assignment or design question was not so much in the repurposing of Soestdijk Palace, but rather in supervising and enabling a repurposing through my design. I managed to give a suitable answer to the design question by focusing on “the question behind the question”. I did not present the end result on posters, as requested, but in a small handmade catalog booklet. With this decision I deviated from the standard, but I succeeded in reinforcing the design elaboration and the communication to those who are interested.


Repulick Soestdijk 13 R Meek [1200px]


Vacancy in numbers

Total chamber area 5324 m2
Total area vacant 3657 m2
Bedrooms 517 m2
Bathroom – toilet 131 m2
Recreation spaces 644 m2
Workspaces 826 m2
Storage space 289 m2
Interspaces 752 m2
Unknown spaces 498 m2