Het Gildenhof | Zwolle

We transformed an industrial rail emplacement into a green pocket park with freestanding residential blocks in a communal owned area as a nature inclusive neighbourhood.

As Zwolle is an ancient “Hanzestad” with a historic city centre encircled with a green bulwark, densification and new housing additions are hard to consider. The former rail emplacement at the south of the city centre is at the brink of redevelopment. Here we introduced a new neighbourhood “Het Gildenhof” which is the crowning end of the Koggepark in Zwolle. 

The name refers to the history of the “Hanzestad” and the park setting. We designed detached buildings in a city park, composed to provide clear sightlines for residents, neighbours and passers-by. We have opted for a building setup that blocks out noise of the adjacent rail track and embraces the greenery with sun facing balconies. We envision a family of buildings, with subtle architectural differences. Car free, as in a city park.

The historic railway bridge is characteristic for this site. It is the pivot point between the park and the former industrial rail environment. The scale and size of the buildings are geared to the rail environment. In the north: larger buildings along the rail track, to the south: a smaller grain facing historic buildings. Three areas are created in between: a higher courtyard as a gateway to the historic railway bridge and the city centre of Zwolle; underneath and along a green hill: an open city park connecting the offices, and a lower-lying open residential court with a unique footbridge to Stockholmstraat for a stroll through the neighbourhood.

The goal was to fit in Het Gildenhof in its surroundings. The contemporary station area refers to a classic architecture which is shown in story height, window rhythm, eaves, and nuances of colour and material. We connect to this classic reference with a “plinth-body-top” three partition in façade design. The station area’s architecture shows predominantly a horizontal layout in bands and layers. We made this horizontal layout the bearer of the architectural expression in Het Gildenhof.

A successful residential area allows for a human scale and individual expression. Beholding a contemporary architecture, we introduced a specialization of the entrance door by various techniques: noticeable recesses and expressive door design. Encounters arise at the interface of public and private. In the Stockholmstraat there are subtle transitions between the front door and the street in the form of a pavement. This approach fits the idea of ‘living in a park’ as we have translated it into Het Gildenhof in various ways, realizing a nature inclusive neighbourhood where people can live happily.


Dura Vermeer, Trebbe

246 residences
27.982 m2

Designed in 2022

In collaboration with:
LapLab, DGMR, Alfrink van Schieveen,
WYNE, Alba Concepts, Future Mobility

Stefano Guidici, Kendra Heide,
Amela Rasidkadic, Oresti Sarafopoulos,
Cristina de Talavera Gawronska,
Maarten Verhelst

Artist impressions:
Beauty & The Bit

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