Orange Architects has won a competition to deliver the master plan for an innovation district in Zwolle, Netherlands.
Set amongst a rewilded "canvas" landscape of native plantings, the plan for the WärtZ district (short for Wild, Art, Raw, Tech and Zwols) calls for an 850-unit housing component, educational spaces, hospitality venues, cultural venues, and hub for creative workers all a centered around an existing Wärtsilä Hall that will be transformed into the new landmark anchor of the total 23.5-acre development (about 9.5 hectares).
AM and Dutch Railways (NS), the district’s commissioners, agreed on the master plan. The firm will collaborate with MVRDV, LOLA Landscape Architects, RHDHV, and several other local entities to complete the design, which is part of a larger Railway Zone Masterplan authored by NS and the city government.
Orange Architects founding partner Patrick Meijers says: “With the sustainable and ambitious WärtZ plan, the entire team is fully committed to putting Zwolle on the map as the country’s fourth region. They propose a free, innovative, vibrant city district set in wild urban nature, with a mixture of culture, education, collective living and maker industry.”
Sebastiaan de Wilde, the director of Station Development for Dutch Railways (NS), adds: “This plan is ambitious, future-oriented and innovative. It shows how new forms of area development and construction contribute to meeting climate targets and housing challenges and offer solutions for accessibility problems. NS is enthusiastic about these plans, which we are facilitating together with the City of Zwolle, AM and many other partners. I look forward to a bright future for this innovation district right beside the station in Zwolle.”
MVRDV and Orange Architects also recently unveiled plans for a mixed-use district targeting redevelopment efforts in Kyiv, Ukraine. The new WärtZ plan is expected to begin construction in 2026 pending any major change.
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