Second Nature

Adriaan Geuze
West 8, Rotterdam

West 8 approaches the production of nature in two different - but characteristically Dutch - ways. First, they take a classic civil engineering approach for creating landscape - a logic based on utility and necessity. Second, they are part of a landscape tradition that confers identity and, therefore, understand the need for creating symbols in the production of landscape. This method envisions a new nature, a 'second nature' of constructed landscapes that respond to pragmatic demands (water management, population growth, sustainability) and also reinforce the culture to which they belong (identity, symbols, expression).

Adriaan Geuze, co-founder of West 8, has established an enormous reputation on an international level with this visionary approach to planning and design of the built environment. Together with his team, he brought West 8 to the frontline of international urban design and landscape architecture nearly 30 years ago by developing a technique of relating contemporary culture, urban identity, architecture, public space and engineering within one design, while always taking the context into account. In a departure from the old demolish and install engineering methodology, or the current preserve and protect model, West 8 is adding and expressing new natures. Creating land and then painting it: in many ways, this is the soul of Dutch culture.

With West 8, Adriaan Geuze has been honoured with the success of winning a number of high profile international design competitions such as Governors Island in New York, Toronto’s New Central Waterfront in Canada and Madrid RIO in Spain.