LOLA turns Zwolle’s Spoorzone into a rewilded creative district

11 December 2023

LOLA Landscape Architects will design the landscape for the area near the NS railway station in Zwolle into a vibrant green creative district, called WärtZ. The winning plan got the green light, which consists of 850 homes for all ages, restaurants, educational institutions, public facilities, and makerspaces. The transformative ‘Spoorzone Zwolle’ turns a former industrial area into a rewilded neighbourhood that shows a promising young and innovative Zwolle. Moreover, it functions as a permanent ‘green stage’ for the creative makers in WärtZ by providing space for initiatives, festivities and art.

The former industrial site will undergo a spatial and programmatic transformation, aligning with the Spoorzone Master Plan and the Memorandum of Principles established by the Municipality of Zwolle and NS. This transformative initiative by area developer AM in collaboration with LOLA, MVRDV, Orange Architects, Skonk, and others, will continue to the entire planning area which encompasses major ambitious goals in energy, mobility, circularity, and climate.

A bridge between city and nature
Based on the principles of urban rewilding, nature regains its course and brings people closer to nature. What is now largely asphalt becomes part of a large natural canvas for makers, residents, and visitors. The public space takes inspiration from the landscape of the river IJssel valley that once characterized this area, bringing it back to a more urban context. By embracing the benefits of spontaneous vegetation growth and introducing controlled urban rewilding in targeted urban areas, nature is restored and given its maximal potential to thrive. The urban dunes shaping the inner public spaces contrast the fragments of the existing industrial elements, creating an unexpected and exciting space. As a largely car-free inner-city area, WärtZ gives more space for biodiversity, urban rewilding, and outdoor social encounters than if the public space was used for roads, crossings, and car parking. WärtZ is to be an energy-positive, circular and CO2-neutral urban development, aligning with the city’s sustainability ambitions and the future of our planet.

Eric-Jan Pleijster, LOLA Landscape Architects:

“It’s essential to have access to nature in our daily lives, even when we’re living in the middle of the city. By creating places in WärtZ that are higher and drier as well as places that are lower and more humid, we provide optimal conditions for new urban nature to develop spontaneously. The rewilded landscape of WärtZ gives plenty of room for movement and meeting, sports and games.”

A springboard for the city and regional businesses
The name WärtZ captures the district’s bustling atmosphere and alludes to the existing Wärtsilä hall with its typical, undulating roof. While the roof remains the same, everything around it will give place to a hub for innovation, creativity, and forward-thinking collaboration to address future challenges. This sets WärtZ to become a pivotal green and innovation district, acting as a catalyzer for talent and companies across the region.

With innovation driving the urban and regional economy, WärtZ enables Zwolle’s ambition to become the fourth city region of the Netherlands. In addition to being an economic and cultural hotspot, an annex of Museum de Fundatie will soon be one of the cultural attractions, making WärtZ an interesting, green-urban hotspot for Zwolle residents and visitors to the city.

Client: Gebiedsontwikkelaar AM, NS, Gemeente Zwolle
I.c.w.:MVRDVOrange Architects, AM, SkonkRoyal HaskoningDHVDGMRMobyconKickstadPieters BouwtechniekTenmanStepforwardKwirkey’t Idee Marketing & Concept Vivid Vision

 

Find out more

Masterplan of the vibrant green creative district, called WärtZ

A robust green-blue structure connecting the inner city to the IJssel Valley

Wartsila Boulevard, the beating heart of Wartz

Waterwalk along the nature-friendly bank of Hanzesingel

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