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Excavated Landscapes

Location: Fochteloërveen, Drenthe

Type: Construction

Situation: Proposal

This informative monument lets walkers experience the history of the landscape of Drenthe.

In the past centuries the “Veen” landscape or peatland, was considered wild and hostile, dangerous land. But ever since the middle ages until the 1950’s this landscape got drained and dug up in a serial and structured manner for the harvest of peat. Left behind was a flat, rationalised landscape used mainly as farmland.

Current infrastructure of a big part of Drenthe is still based upon the network of “wijken”, channels used for peat extraction.

Fochteloërveen is one of the few locations where there is still original veen and where harvested peatlands are being “healed”. It is situated where the network of channels ended when peat got fully replaced by coal, oil and gas. In this nature park the different layers of Drenthe’s landscape coexist closely next to each other. Here I propose to build a 50 meter long pile of peat that echoes the way peat miners used to stack their raw material and cuts in a cross-sectional manner through these different plots of landscape, integrating an element of the formation of the landscape to shape a narrative.

A path cuts through this pile and climbs it to a hight of the original veen, 5 metres. The visitors walking this pile experience a curated sequence of the different landscapes: peatland, kanal, forest and farmland and are shown the relationship between these through it’s connecting element: peat harvest.