Programmed Trees

Programmed Trees
Programmed Trees by LMNL office [for architecture and landscape]
We propose to cultivate characteristic trees paired with programmatic elements throughout our cities in order to develop new connections with nature.

LMNL office [for architecture and landscape]
Oisterwijk, The Netherlands
LMNL office [for architecture and landscape] specializes in the design of naturalistic landscapes and the architecture of natural materials.
Team members
Erica Chladová
Robert van der Pol
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Landscape architecture, Ecology, Research
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

LMNL office [for architecture and landscape] is a Dutch studio which specializes in the design of naturalistic landscapes and the architecture of natural materials. Founded in 2017 by Erica Chladová and Robert van der Pol - Erica (Architect and Landscape Architect) and Robert (Landscape Architect) met while completing their graduate studies at the Technical University Delft.

LMNL works on commissions, competitions, and research studies that bridge the fields of architecture and landscape. Our work seeks to merge the building and the environment, focusing on the liminal space between inside and outside. Sustainability is a priority for us – all our built projects feature sustainable, biobased, and where possible, circular materials. We renovate historic buildings and build new buildings with natural materials that are fully vapor permeable and promote the best possible indoor air quality for their occupants.

In addition to architecture we design naturalistic landscapes, large and small, which take the changing climate into consideration and respond as needed. Next to our design practice we are developing a garden, design and landscape laboratory named grond|vorm, where we invite colleagues to collaborate and test out ideas while we work to convert a two hectare disused mono-cultural agricultural landscape into a biodiverse culturally relevant landscape.

We believe in designs where the built form and living landscape benefit from and interact seamlessly with one other. Landscape isn’t subordinate to the structure – the structure however, is secondary to its surroundings. Our goal is to design that interaction between architecture and its landscape to create more playful, powerful and livable places with a look to the future. Our work is defined by a contemporary aesthetic that is rooted in the local vernacular, and is complemented by a strong commitment to sustainable and regenerative (landscape) architecture.

The center of a settlement was traditionally marked with a symbolic tree that lived through the generations, marking time as the town changed around it. The modern city misses these iconic trees as landmarks. For people in an urban environment to feel connected to nature the traditional city doesn’t need an extensive overhaul - with minimal effort the city is improved by realizing pockets of elemental nature. We propose to cultivate characteristic species of trees on plots throughout the city, where, in conjunction with programmatic elements they develop a much-needed link to nature in our urban realm. The built-up environment, the people, and nature could and should form a symbiosis. A symbiosis steering away from generic urbanity, creating meaningful places and experiences - counteracting the concrete jungle and creating a more balanced habitat for all.

The proposal brings natural elements back into people’s daily lives, while strengthening and expanding the city’s ecology, biodiversity, and contributing to a vibrant urban life. These activated interstices form an addition to the urban landscape, creating a pattern of functional natural elements that expand public space.

By strategically planting, cultivating or protecting (existing) trees we can create striking specimens. We want trees to have a central position in urban life, in contrast to their typical use as a marginal filler of urban space. If trees had a say on their place in the city, it would become more robust as they age. Specific trees are combined with programmatic elements that define the functionality of the space and enhance their unique characteristics; a synergy between nature and daily routine is created. The trees form beneficial landmarks that enliven the community in which they stand, forming pockets of informal city life with a pleasant microclimate.

Programmed Trees is an idea developed by LMNL for Common Places - an international and collaborative research led by Plan Común.