Have you ever felt you want to escape from mundane urban quotidianity? Designer Anne Beuk’s graduation project HiHaHut provides an escape from city life in an unusual place in the middle of an intensive Dutch agricultural landscape between Leiden and Amsterdam.
Small rural houses for rent are the new bed and breakfast. They provide architects and designers with interesting spatial challenges while consumers get to experiment countryside experiences in a unique minimalist environment. But when land is scarce, what do these experiences look like?
The Netherlands is the most densely populated country of the European Union. Its cities are dense, and every hectare of the rural landscape is used for high-capacity food production. This means that a weekend escapes in the Netherlands do not happen in virgin area. An escape from the city takes you straight into farmlands.
HiHaHut consists of a network of 4 unique cots that are smartly integrated into the rural production landscape. A visit to one of these cottages involves turning on your gas and electricity, using a compost toilet, sleeping next to, or inside, a greenhouse, or waking up with the bleating of the sheep. Since tourism hasn’t been part of the local activities, tourist taxes do not apply yet in this municipality.
Visitors are encouraged to learn about the heritage of the area, known for its farm production history. Examples of the places to visit in the area include a cheese museum and cheese farm, and the famous tulip route, corresponding to the cultivation route of tulips in this area.
HiHaHut might provide a glimpse of a future in which mono-functional, rather unaccessible, large-scale agricultural production landscapes are reinvented as leisure landscapes. By adding new functions to the otherwise homogenous greenhouses and fields of crops, the food factories of the world may well become our new favorite holiday destinations.