Hans Penders

Student Garden and Landscape Architecture

Hans Penders, Garden and Landscape Architecture student in Velp followed a half year internship in the wealthy city of Dubai. At the architectural bureau Cypark he worked together with fellow student Sander Singor and helped with designing mega gardens - in the middle of the desert.

'A private garden in Dubai is between twenty and fifty hectares in size. In the Netherlands we call that a park, except in Dubai, this is all desert. People build a house in the middle of the desert, put a fence around it, and then ask for a garden to be put in. Often owners request a garden that looks extremely extravagant because they want to show how wealthy they are.

The houses are also huge and beautiful and everything is made using the very best material. They also want the best and most expensive irrigation system - which is necessary to keep a garden alive in the desert. They have the means to do anything in Dubai. Even the 165km road from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is completely green.

The work we did was very similar to what we would do in the Netherlands. For instance, we converted the design for a large garden in Saudi Arabia into a 3D presentation. I created a lot of technical drawings of new garden concepts. I found it strange that everything was so large. It really took me a while to get used to the luxury. We stayed in a really nice apartment owned by the company, with a swimming pool, sauna and gym downstairs.

We were also regularly invited to have dinner at five star hotels. We also accepted these invitations because hotels are the only establishments that are allowed to sell alcohol. Everything was so luxurious I didn't even dare to touch anything. I found the people rather strange, but in a nice way.

They are extremely wealthy, with enormous houses and expensive cars, but they are still friendly and normal. They want to show how rich they are, but they are not snobbish. They work hard, and they are very concerned about their future and the future of their children. It was nice to see that life there is not only about money.'


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