Nature Reserve

Russian Federation

Suspenseful near touch enhances nature and artefact.

Together with Strelka KB, Karres en Brands was commissioned to develop a landscape strategy and architectural design for one of Russia’s most beautiful nature reserves. The goal of the project is to provide a unique visitor experience while at the same time preserving and enhancing local ecologies.

Recognizing the beauty and environmental sensitivity of the area, our main idea focuses on the concept of “near touch”: The state in which nature and human intervention reach towards each other and yet do not completely intersect. This state of suspense, positions human intervention as an alien keeping its distance from the context but highlighting both nature and architecture at the same time.

Recognizable objects, floating on subtle legs, with a minimal footprint provide shelter or a unique experience of the nature. They do not touch the site but provide the perfect extension of nature, in order to experience it.  They amplify the experience of nature and strengthen the relation between people and nature. They frame the surrounding landscape and provide new perspectives of the unique nature of the reserve. The family of objects includes a carefully choreographed set of pathways that take the visitor trough the nature reserve as well as a family of architectural interventions providing shelter and a unique experience of nature. Both interventions make use of sustainable, modular and fully removable materials and structures.

The nature trails are designed blend into each landscape typology and provide a full experience of the nature reserve without disturbing its ecosystem.

The family of huts and towers will provide shelter and spaces for observation and experience of nature. Each typology is designed with a clear and recognizable geometry to help with wayfinding and orientation in the vast landscape.

Observation towers allow for optimal observation of animals and surrounding vegetation and respond to the habitat of their placement. In a forest, the focus is on experiencing the verticality and diverse layers of the forest on different heights, while in open meadows and wetlands the focus is on the horizon and horizontal experience of the landscape.

The structure is a freestanding object in nature with a distinctive character to maintain relation between people and nature. Its height can be adjusted according to the habitat in which is placed allowing visitors to experience different species by providing different observation heights.

The observation tower is divided into two main structures: steel pillar support construction and wooden volume. The steel structure keeps its distance from ground. It is composed by a set of thin legs and diagonal bars span between them to increase stability. The two-level staircase elegantly rests on the forest floor while twisting to reach the observation tower. Vertical facade elements cover the main structure of the volume in a play of transparency and opacity. They make the volume appear monolithic from certain angels while from others they open to reveal a light and transparent structure.

According to type of observation, the façade lamellas open up to frame views in various manners: they can either frame the view of the surrounding and generate a panoramic 360 experience of the landscape, or focus the view through smaller openings while hiding the observer from sensitive species and generating minimal disturbances, or just framing a spectacular view of the landscape.

Diving towers are a special element within the family of objects that allows visitors to experience nature in a completely different than observation towers. Placed in the middle of a lake or open water, they encourage visitors to make an effort in order to get a new perspective on the surrounding landscape.

Within the diving towers, we can distinguish two types that are characterized by the habitat they are placed in: diving towers in a lake environment and diving towers in a sea environment.  Depending on habitat, the architectural expression of the structure is different on the lake and sea environment. The lake is surrounded by various types of habitats and its calm surface is an addition to surrounding landscape, thus diving towers placed in this type of environment should not disturb the view. The seawater is identified by its vast openness, thus diving towers placed in this type of environment should not disappear from the horizon and should be visible as a special element emerging from water.

The guest houses are inspired by secluded villages in remote woods. They are designed to evoke the feeling of home and shelter, when discovering secluded campsites in rough nature. Built to be recognizable beacons of shelter in the vast nature reserve they combine the characteristic roof shape with the suggestion of a chimney the becoming modern interpretations of a classical typology. 

The individual units are modular constructions built from timber and meant to host from 1 (‘S’ house) to 2 (‘M’ house) people or a small group (‘L’ house). Placed in different habitats the houses are designed to enhance the natural characteristics of the surroundings as well as the sky by exaggerating the roof and offering a skylight window at the end of it.

Project data
Location ​Russian Federation Google Maps
Assignment ​Landscape and Architectural Design
Size ​Strategic vision 60.000 ha
Design ​2017-2018
Construction ​2020-
Status ​Documentation delivered, under construction
Client ​Undisclosed
Budget ​Undisclosed
Team ​Darius Reznek, Sander Vedder, Joost de Natris, Natalia Gruszczynska, Justyna Chmielewska, Oana Paraschiv, Shan Shao
In collaboration with ​Strelka KB, Vivid Vision
Copyright images ​Karres en Brands, Strelka KB, Vivid Vision
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The Open City

Grasbrook -Hamburg, Germany

Karres en Brands and Mandaworks proposed a model “City of the future” for Hamburg’s newest district, in an iconic harbor location south of the Elbe.

A true city in the Harbor 
Like many historically industrial cities, Hamburg is constantly negotiating the boundary between ’city’ and ’harbor’. The result is a harbor and a city that have grown apart. The harbor looks outwards towards the waters, large open spaces and technological efficiency, while the city looks inwards, in search of urbanity and human scale.  To stimulate an entirely new city model, where innovation is central, it is important that the two faces of Hamburg meet and interact. We do not believe in the ’citification’ Grasbrook, defined by standardized, efficient housing solutions and investor driven, frictionless-free development. The dream for the ’Open City’ is to create the framework for an entirely new type of district, developed at the intersection of city and harbor, with contextual and authentic typologies of spaces and buildings that respond to the needs of Hamburg today and in the future. We believe that Grasbrook is the ideal platform for the reinvention of the boundaries between harbor and city in Hamburg.

Open Space as DNA 
In ”The Open City”, public spaces form the organizing structure of the plan. The plan is not just physically connected to its surroundings, it is an extension of them in every way. The public spaces of the new district extend beyond surrounding infrastructures and barriers to connect to Veddel and the city beyond. They define a flexible yet compact framework that leaves maximum space for existing and new habitats and ecology while at the same time supporting city life and recreation. 

Compact urbanity 
For Hamburg to successfully realize the jump over the Elbe, it requires urban and active qualities where it lands. We believe that a dense, flexible urbanity is essential to create a thriving platform for city life! “The Open city” offers more than just a collection of ’business as usual’ apartments. It defines clear and compact spaces that allow for maximum concentration of vibrant program, active ground floors and modular, flexible housing units that can adapt to the needs of the City and neighborhood.

The Open City is already there 
We believe in heritage as the foundation of of any good urban plan. The Open City does not erase the rough and broken but celebrates it! Public spaces build on existing site conditions and enhance them. The most striking elements of the industrial harbor landscape give a genuine character and identity to the plan, spaces, and landscape.

The HHalle 
The HHalle is the main public backbone of the neighborhood and will become a completely new type of public space south of the Elbe with resonance for the entire city. Created through the creative preservation of the incredible dock roof, the HHalle is indoor and outdoor at the same time, green and hardscape, industrial yet humane, promenade, infrastructure, plaza and park in one. An iconic - and uniquely Grasbrook - space like no other!

Open Park Island 
By building a compact district, “The Open City” provides maximum space for landscape towards the Elbe. Grasbrook will be the green counterpart of HafenCity. Built at the intersection of industrial heritage, ecology and urban life, the park combines these three ingredients to create a green space that is true to its roots and forward looking. The Elbbrückenpark is not a classical “Green Commons” park typology but an urban wilderness landscape, an ecological and recreational landmark in Hamburg.
“The Open City” works with the existing dynamics of ecology instead of against them. Based on the tidal movement of the waters, a series of groynes or park anchors will catch sediment and slowly stimulate the development of an exciting tidal park at the heart of the plan. It combines nature, sports and industrial heritage and brings Grasbrook and Veddel together through active public space.

Open to the surroundings 
The Open City is optimally connected to its surroundings. Its public spaces are testimony to this. This new type of infrastructure is more than just a physical connector but becomes a platform for city life, economy and ecology. The main public spaces of the new district extend beyond the site boundaries to connect to the surroundings: HHalle, Elbbrückenpark, Saalehafen Tidal and Sports park, use combinations of urban program, ecological corridors or recreational infrastructure to stitch Grasbrook into its context.

Open Next Nature 
In “The Open City” public spaces are more than just spaces for recreation. We believe the time in which large green spaces are the universal answer for resilient urban development are long passed. We must discover new ways of bringing urbanity and ecology together. Global challenges of our time such as climate change demand a whole new approach to public spaces. In “The Open City”, public spaces form an intricate ecosystem that deals with climate proofing, water storage, sustainability, microclimate and ecology while at the same time providing space for experimentation and innovation. They are what we call Next Nature! 

Open Active Plinths
Grasbrook is a mixed-use district integrating residential and office space with collective, cultural, industrial and productive facilities to achieve a synergetic balance. The scale and type of production ranges from large-scale vertical manufacturing buildings in the western area bordering the existing port, to flexible event, culture and commercial spaces at HHalle and collective and creative production spaces and studios in the residential area of the Moldauhafenquartier. Under each block in the district we take use of the underground space to create flexible basement structures serving the needs of bicycles, micro mobility units, vehicles, new urban logistics, and sustainable infrastructure.

Hackable city 
The Open City is a hackable city. Our idea of the city is a flexible framework where spaces and buildings can be occupied in various ways. Buildings are designed using principles of flexible and modular open buildings. Public spaces are sketched as extensions of the indoor program (or vice versa) blurring the lines between architecture and public space and allowing for flexible use and interaction. This defines a dynamic city that stimulates “hacking” and allows spaces to be shaped by their users, from intimate discussions to small sp

Project data
Location ​Grasbrook -Hamburg, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​Masterplan, Public Space Design, Architecture
Size ​50ha, 850.000m2GFA
Design ​2019-2020
Status ​Invited competition Second Prize
Client ​HafenCity
Team ​Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Sylvia Karres, Davor Dusanic, Igor Sladoljev, Inga Zielonka, Natalia Gruszczynska, Oana Paraschiv, Abbigail MacPhee, Oswin Noordergraaf, Justyna Chmielewska, Neil Moncrieff, Volker Lescow, Tom Thijssen
In collaboration with ​Mandaworks
Copyright images ​Karres en Brands, Mandaworks, Tegmark
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Brunaupark

Zürich, Switzerland

Carefully choreographed collective spaces

The new Brunaupark brings a new type of living quality in Zurich. On the one hand facing lush green nature, while on the other the city life, it bridges between these two qualities and brings its own unique urbanity to the site. The open spaces do not try to compete with either the city or the Allmend, but rather take advantage of both. We do not propose lush nature as this is found a few meters to the south, we just ensure a perfect access and connection to it. We do not provide city wide public spaces, as there can be found in the Sihl City or further in the city. What we provide is a living landscape that combines the two. A green urban courtyard that relates to both the city and nature. Where residents can get together, play or organize events, but where working life, shopping and restaurants can also find a spot.

 

Brunaupark is not a gated community or enclosed private block, but rather a subtle series of carefully choreographed collective spaces. The design of open spaces plays with the transition from public to private, without fencing or bordering, but by always offering quality to the space. Our proposal includes a variety of spaces of different scales; spaces for the city, such as the Allmend or green square leading onto it; spaces for the entire development such as the pond, or central squares; collective sports and play areas for a few towers on shared roofs; up to private balconies. It includes a specific public space for every level of collectivity slowly making the transition from city to apartment.

This hierarchy from city to individual space is always articulated through the design of the landscape. The transition from public to collective is always marked by a height difference with several steps, an informal square and change in materialization. This marks the transition without closing it off, and ensures the space still feels private while allowing for the occasional passer-by. Frontages of apartment buildings are marked by slight height differences and change in materialization or even linear green elements such as hedges. Through materialization, height and greenery, these transitions are always carefully articulated, ensuring that the site feels more and more private as you more deeper into it but that it remains anchored in the surroundings.

Project data
Location ​Zürich, Switzerland Google Maps
Assignment ​Masterplan and design public space
Size ​2 hectares
Design ​2017
Status ​Competiton entry
In collaboration with ​Stuchelli Architects
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Haunstetten - The Learning City

Augsburg, Germany

Circular city of tomorrow!

Karres en Brands and Adept is one of the winning teams of the international competition for a new 200ha district in Augsburg Germany.  With the proposal Haunstetten + The Learning City Karres en Brands and Adept have been awarded 2nd place and selected by the jury along with the other 2 winners for further negotiation.

Developed in an agricultural landscape at the outskirts of Augsburg, 30min away from Munich, it offers outstanding opportunities for high quality affordable housing. Fully built the new district will incorporate around 700.000m2 of program, generous public spaces and a large park.

Circular economy
The Learning City stands for our ambition to develop a truly sustainable district. A city that will be able to generate its own energy and produce a large part of its food intake and construction materials locally. Together with a very ambitious plan for recycling sharing and re-using materials our vision aims to minimize waste and promote a circular society. The Learning City puts forth an entirely new economic model built around circularity and connected to the nearby innovation campus.

Landscape based city
The Learning City is a vision that embraces and strengthens the qualities of the existing, as the starting point to create the city of tomorrow. A vision that links new and old, combines history and future and intertwines city and landscape.

Adaptive planning approach
The vision puts forth a highly adaptable and learning plan that can change as it develops. A simple and clear structure inspired by the underlying agricultural and natural landscape forms the basis of the plan and sets the framework for the future. Within this robust framework the city can change and adapt to the unexpected always learning and improving. Where traditional planning looks into rules and regulations the learning city offers freedom and experimentation: a timeless framework for city life.

More about the competition

Project data
Location ​Augsburg, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​Masterplan new district
Size ​200 ha
Design ​2019 - 2020
Status ​Selected for further development
In collaboration with ​ADEPT
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Toy Museum

Sergiev Posad, Russian Federation

Snakes and Ladders - playful routing through the heritage site

The concept inspired by the board game “snakes and ladders” defines a playful route connecting the UNESCO World Heritage building of the Toy Museum situated in Russian town Sergiev Posad to its surroundings.

Sergiev Posad is a spiritual centre of Russia with its famous Monastery Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra, that attracts a lot of visitors each year. The area of the monastery together with the Toy Museum site is a heritage protected by UNESCO. The city is also known from the invention of Matryoshka - a wooden toy known all over the world. The heart of the far-reaching toy crafting history is the Toy Museum building, around which Karres en Brands was asked to make a design. The building, situated on top of the hill at the edge of the river valley, engages in a panoramic view of the Kelar pond and the Monastery.

The design developed by Karres en Brands is a gently sloping elevated wooden pathway which becomes a new connector between the building and the landscape, and between the tourists and inhabitants of the town. The route will meander among the existing and newly planted trees and it will integrate exciting play elements along the way, such as swings, nets and slides. Its curved line guides view towards different directions each time it turns and it finally lands at the lake’s promenade. The project increases the coherence and accessibility of the natural area of lake and enhances the continuity in the big scale landscape. The embankment of the pond is popular with local residents regardless of the season: in the wintertime people are ice skating or sliding down the hill; in the summer people organize picnics, fish, swim, play games or walk.

The path creates a playful threshold between the museum and its surroundings. By connecting touristic route of the Monastery with the river valley routing the museum site becomes a place for both the visitors and the inhabitants of the town. The identity of the monastery, the identity of the river valley and the identity of the Toy Museum overlap thanks to the new connection. The path will be a unique object in the city capable of becoming a condenser for different social groups: both tourist attraction and a place for the townspeople.

Project data
Location ​Sergiev Posad, Russian Federation Google Maps
Assignment ​Park design
Size ​1 hectare
Design ​2018
Status ​Under construction – first stage built
Client ​Strelka KB
Team ​Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Justyna Chmielewska, Jeroen Hogeraad, Crispijn van Saas, Sander Vedder, Joost de Natris, Paola Salviano de Souza
In collaboration with ​Strelka KB
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Memorial Gardens

Ivanovo, Russian Federation

Historical Memorials as lively new Oases

Ivanovo is a city with a rich cultural heritage as both the birthplace of the Russian Avant-Garde as well as a city known for his historical public gardens. The city’s network of public space is a collage of different spaces and gardens that are interlinked, each with its own strong identity, A special category is the memorial sites, a series of buildings, pavilions or monuments together with their immediate public spaces, built to remember or celebrated important moments in the Russian history. These ensembles define a strong mosaic of public spaces that extend across time. Memorial Gardens is our proposal inspired by the city’s patchwork of gardens, that aims to highlight the monuments as well as make a consistent contribution to the city’s open space framework. Not only places to remember but also places to use.

The new proposed spaces draw their inspiration from the monuments themselves. Each site is designed around the main monument. Together they define three very characteristic oases that ensure a unique experience of the monuments. The gardens make use of topography, planting and subtle materialization to provide spectacular backdrops and scenography for the statues, which are very present in the city fabric. 

The three memorial oases are: “Standing in Line”, “Urban Rooms” and “Wild Forest”. “Standing in Line” propose using characteristic planting to highlight the essence of heroic action of Russian soldier during the Second World War. The planting scheme forms a protective battalion of trees, with the main monument as one of the soldiers. At the heart of the battalion, an open green lawn opens views to the city and acts as multifunctional lawn for the neighbourhood, including a flexible skating rink in the winter. “Urban rooms” is the garden facing the new youth centre and including the Monument for soviet Heroes. The space here is defined in different formal urban rooms of trees, from intensive outdoor use close to the centre, to a multifunctional plaza and finally a green lawn for the relaxing and contemplation around the monument. “The Wild Forest” is the garden surrounding the monument of “workers”. Inspired by the diversity and individuality of Russian workers the garden features a high variety of trees species naturally spread through the site.

 

 

Project data
Location ​Ivanovo, Russian Federation Google Maps
Assignment ​Public space conceptual design
Size ​4 hectares
Design ​2019
Status ​SO complete
Client ​Municipality of Ivanovo
In collaboration with ​Strelka KB
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Postareal Kiel

Kiel, Germany

Back to the future!

Karres en Brands in a collaboration with CROSS Architecture worked on the transformation of the Postareal logistic area in Kiel to a new residential neighborhood. Our proposal is based on the need to create a genuine and generous neighborhood. A neighborhood with its own character but still anchored in the scale, typologies and architecture of both the city fabric and the nearby harbor. A living quarter, loyal to the complex urban context, with the will to create a diversely programmed, climate proof and energy efficient neighborhood prepared of the future. 

This approach creates a series of interconnected and diverse spaces and various housing typologies catering to different needs of future residents. The ‘cluster’ approach enables to execute the urban plan in independent phases, assuring a quality for residents in any building phase. The plan includes typical city spaces, from pocket parks, streets, alleys, squares to courtyards, collective rooftops and gardens, up to private gardens, loggias, and balconies. Layering of these spaces leads to an extremely rich living experience, where green is always only a few meters away.

The site is strongly characterized by height differences. Placing the parking garage underground generates a natural descending movement towards the waterfront and leaves space above for pedestrians and cyclists. The topographical sequence of stairs, tribunes and ramps meandering between buildings defines different spaces and creates active edges. Like carpets in a living room, the play of public space materials, building facades and vegetation give a unique personality to each open space.

Our proposal does not simply rely on engineering solutions to solve its environmental goals. The ensemble is designed with microclimatic and sustainability principles in mind. Water management has an important role within the plan. The neighborhood has an interlinked system of open gutters and water buffer spaces, capturing all run-off from the neighborhood and its surroundings. Elevated courtyards and rooftops are the first level of catchment and can temporarily store the water in planters, greenery and paving. The water is then led through open gutters to the central water square, which is used for short term storage. The central square celebrates the presence of the water the most. With collected water, the design of the square plays with stepping stones fountains, water basins and gutters under the green roof of tree canopies. The plaza becomes an attractive everchanging space due to the changing water levels. In case of a heavy rainfall, underground tanks in parking garages can be used to store runoff water. The neighborhood of the future becomes a waterproof and experimental ensemble where dealing with water is not only a technical defensive solution but a design tool stimulating play and good microclimatic experience. 

Project data
Location ​Kiel, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​Residential neighborhood
Size ​12,000 m²
Design ​2019
Status ​Competition
Client ​Lorac Investment Management
In collaboration with ​CROSS Architecture
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Bergedorf West

Hamburg, Germany

New possibilities for our modernist housing legacy

In collaboration with ADEPT, Karres en Brands made a transformation strategy for the social housing area Bergedorf West. The strategy is part of a parallel study, which explores new urban and architectural concepts for the housing association estates from the 1950s-1970s in Hamburg. The strategy shows how we with simple principles can re-use our modernist housing legacy, in a more sustainable way than simply erasing the mistakes of the past. Bringing out the potentials and upcycling the modernist dream.

The Oberbillwerder masterplan (planned by ADEPT and Karres en Brands) will lead to significant changes in the adjacent districts in the coming years. This creates new possibilities for Bergedorf West, a classical modernist housing area from 1969. The aim is to interconnect both districts, fuelling an urban revitalization of the monofunctional area, and creating a more coherent living district in Hamburg. Today the area consists of building blocks, repeatedly stamped onto a carpet of anonymous green, which hamper orientation and social interaction. By introducing new typologies, cutting and adding onto the existing building mass, new courtyards are formed. This creates a clearer division between public and private space and offers a more diverse palette for ways of living and ownership.

Developments at strategic points starts the transformation, whilst preserving existing important buildings and strengthening the spatial qualities of the area. Through minimal interventions, such as opening connections and introducing a mixed program at ground floor level, a greater hierarchy of spaces is achieved. The new urban structure is organized with commercial- and public functions including mobility hubs, along one central street. Local neighbourhood squares function as social anchor points, that both connect residents but also function as intersection points with the surrounding quarters.  Green corridors running from east-west connecting to district functions, such as schools and sports facilities and to new public infrastructure in Oberbillwerder. 

 

 

That shows how we with simple principles can re-use our modernist housing legacy, in a more sustainable way than simply erasing the mistakes of the past. Bringin out the potentials and upcycling the modernist dream.

Project data
Location ​Hamburg, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​Transformation strategy for co-operative housing estates
Size ​82.584 m²
Design ​2019
Status ​Concept design
Client ​Co-operative housing companies in cooperation with the Department of Urban Development and Housing
In collaboration with ​ADEPT
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Urban territories

Russian Federation

Guidelines for urban development

Karres en Brands together with Strelka KB and KCAP worked on developing a manual with a set of principles and design guidelines to improve the quality of open spaces in more than forty cities across Russia. The aim of the manual is to adapt Russian cities to the social and natural challenges of today, but at the same time trigger a new discussion about existing urban planning policies and regulations in the Russian Federation.

The manual entails several points. It defines a set of ambitions for the future city (sustainability, resiliency and identity) and it defines (micro)climatic characteristics as a core parameter to be considered in future urban plans and public spaces. Cities throughout Russia are lying in various climate conditions, which makes it essential to consider and provide locally adjusted solutions instead of applying the same approach everywhere. Furthermore, the manual sets several principles for a landscape strategy, which stresses the need to work from local landscape characteristics, natural and urban networks and places connected to them. Furthermore, it provides a palette of elements and materials, which can be used as a source of inspiration for urban improvements. The manual provides a list of guidelines on how to make good quality public spaces such as streets, green networks, parks, squares and how to articulate the transition between public and private domain.

The manual focusses on elaborating a set of principal architectural and planning solutions for suburban, semi urban and urban conditions respectively. For each zone, an exemplary masterplan is developed which shows an overall set up of possible building typologies and public spaces. The masterplan is explained through several types of public space such as streets, parks, squares, spaces in front of social infrastructures and courtyards. For each space, guidelines on their character, maintenance, size and potential use are given.

The manual of principles and design guidelines is accompanied by a catalogue of elements concerning stormwater management, climate comfort measures and outdoor surfaces corresponding to different climates.

Project data
Location ​Russian Federation Google Maps
Assignment ​Design manual for Moscow open spaces
Size ​40 cities across Russia
Design ​2017
Status ​Delivered
Client ​Strelka KB
In collaboration with ​Strelka KB KCAP
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The station zone Amersfoort

Amersfoort, The Netherlands

The Station Zone: The city’s business card

“The city should start at the station.” With this basic idea, Karres and Brands has created a vision to make the area in and around the station square, as well as the route to the city centre, more attractive. Our vision aims to contribute to a green, healthy city by ensuring that its beating heart, the mobility hub, is a highly functional place where a pleasant interchange between trains, busses, bicycles and taxis can happen. And, the pedestrian is central to the entire plan.

Our main theme: create space. Bicycles will be parked underground rather than on the station square. The car and bus lanes will be combined and the intersections on the Stationsstraat will be redesigned. This will create more room for cyclists and pedestrians and provide space for an attractive green route to the city centre. The station square will become a pleasant place to be with optimal walking routes, places to linger and relax, green and water elements, and seating areas. Bike paths from all directions will be optimally connected to the new bicycle garage. On the square, there will be a large entrance to the bicycle parking with a moving walkway so that even older cyclists can comfortably bridge the difference in height. Most bike commuters arrive via the Smalle Pad. In the new plan, they will be able to cycle directly into the bicycle garage via an architectural connection that will be added to the backside of the current station building. This connector was one of the city council’s top priorities. 

 

The vision is further elaborated in a broad set of measures for the public space and traffic structure, as well as for the buildings and the overall liveliness of the streetscape. Other concrete measures proposed will contribute to the climate-proofing of the station square and the route to the city centre. The diversity of trees and plants and the installation of insect hotels and ecological herb gardens will offer pleasant spaces for both humans and wildlife. The route can also play a role in the city’s metabolism by linking energy flows, using residual heat, storing energy and maybe even producing energy. All materials are either CO2 neutral or recycled. A “smart” lighting system will be installed so lights can react to different forms of use.

The plan was drawn up in close consultation with all stakeholders. The city contributed to the planning process during various brainstorming events, and the plan incorporates the many desires, ideas and concerns expressed during an intensive dialogue. If the municipality and council members agree to the plan, construction is expected to begin in 2020.

Project data
Location ​Amersfoort, The Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Vision Stationarea Amersfoort
Size ​20 ha
Design ​2017 - present
Status ​Vision
Client ​Municipality of Amersfoort
In collaboration with ​Goudappel Coffeng Movares
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Stepanov Park

Ivanovo, Russian Federation

A park in the forest

Stepanov Park is one of the most important spaces for social gathering in Ivanovo, Russia and certainly its most active park. Once a buzzing, vibrant stage for recreation in green, the park no longer fulfil the needs of the contemporary city. Wilderness has overgrown spaces for activity and the large distances between active zones make it difficult to understand where the park stops and nature begins. The identity of the park has been diluted and partly destroyed.  Karres en Brands was asked to make a masterplan to bring new life into the park and at the same time respect the, sometimes spontaneous emerged, new nature.  

Our proposal is based on the idea of concentrating the public program in the park in order to maximize the potential of a cultural hub for the city as well as protect the new natural ecosystem of the park. We make a clear distinction between an active park, including connecting corridors and the ecological forest. A park in a forest!

The active corridor is dimensioned in such a way to ensure that it is perfectly tailored to host the sport activities so much needed. Through its length, it connects the main entrance of the park to the waterfront. The corridor cuts through the site and exposes its dramatic topography. It becomes a unique feature of the park, incorporating sports fields, tribunes, viewing platforms and provides access to the water. The entrance area is a flexible open square. It will serve as a place for a viewing platform which will be kick-started by the FIFA 2018. Sports fields, promenade, small park squares or larger amphitheaters are all concentrated along the active corridor, culminating in the swimming facility on the waterfront.

A forest corridor is a connection between the western entrance of the park and the waterfront. Along its paths is space for more calm and passive recreation, respecting the qualities of the forest. The old asylum is transformed into a small performance stage with a watchtower. Located at the highest point of the park it provides beautiful views across the river.

By concentrating the program in these two corridors we keep the forest almost untouched and the impact on the natural system as small as possible. Here the nature is licensed to take over. To stimulate ecology and a dynamic experience, the dense forest will be cleared up in some places into open meadows. The visitor can experience them through a system of small natural trails. They intertwine the park and link with both corridors. These nature trails will be a unique natural experience at the heart of Ivanovo.

Project data
Location ​Ivanovo, Russian Federation Google Maps
Assignment ​Park design
Size ​10 ha
Design ​2016 – 2017
Status ​Delivered
Client ​Strelka KB
Team ​Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Ania Sobiech, Jeroen Hoogenraad, Davor Dusanic, Sjoerd Brandsma
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Stationsweg Mönchengladbach

Mönchengladbach, Germany

Sharing is the new owning

In collaboration with Döll architecten, Karres en Brands developed a master plan for the new neighborhood on the outskirts of Mönchen-Gladbach. The new neighborhood combines collectively, freedom in lifestyle and a rural atmosphere as the main features. The ever still popularity of the German tradition of allotment gardens (Kleingarten), served as an inspiration for a spatial and conceptual organization of the new neighborhood.

The residential area is aimed to attract highly motivated people of all ages and different family structures, who consciously choose a home in a green, safe and eco-friendly environment. The individual freedom consists of the fact that individual residents can determine their own house within the urban framework. Alternating plot sizes provide a great offer on various typologies. At the same time, collective facilities are shared with neighbors.

A network of small-scale, various collective spaces and play facilities, both within the neighborhood and the adjacent park contribute to a green and relaxed neighborhood.  The adjacent park is an important amenity for the new residents. It is part of the large scale landscape corridor, which consists of a mixture of different landscape typologies connecting towns around Mönchen-Gladbach. The proposal envisions the park as a rural playground where the original and new residents can find a common meeting place. Like the variety of plots in the new neighborhood, the park also consists of various fields, reflecting the surrounding agricultural landscape. The individual areas have different vegetation and are inspired by rural farmland and should be further detailed in close dialogue with the local residents, the main users of the park.

Project data
Location ​Mönchengladbach, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​Urban plan and park vision
Size ​110,000 m²
Design ​2018
Status ​2nd prize, Competition
Client ​Municipality of Mönchengladbach
In collaboration with ​Döll architecten
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Colours of Gorky

Moscow, Russian Federation

A new piece in the colourful mosaic of Gorky park

Karres en Brands was one of the selected teams for the Closed International competition for Gorky Park Main Entrance. Gorky Park today is a point of significance for Moscow: each year, it is visited by more than 13 million citizens and tourists. The park is highly valued as a historical and cultural monument, as well as a free space, offering a rich event program for recreation in the centre of Moscow.

The entrance area is the face of the park — the portal leading visitors away from the city into the green park space. Through our design we were challenged to reconceive the historical landmark, offering a new contemporary addition worthy of the park’s heritage. “Colours of Gorky” is our search to understand the essence of Gorky Park, a proposal for the kind of space we want to create, as well as a vision for the park itself.

Gorky Park is like no other. It is not structured by recognizable corridors and has no inherent hierarchy or structure. It is a collage of spaces, each with its strong identity, that are interlinked. Gorky can be completely taken apart and put together in any random construction and would still function as it does. Its deconstruction reveals the importance of its individual spaces. Each unique space is a destination in itself and can work independently from the rest. Put together they define a park where the classical understanding of structure is irrelevant.

Through our proposal we are adding new piece to the Gorky Mosaic, and at the same time paving the way for new pieces to emerge in the future. The Gorky entrance Square, although positioned where once the border of the park used to be, now lies centrally in what is Gorky and Muzeon Park. Its importance lies thus in its ability to function not just as a representative space for Gorky, but as a node in the city, bringing the two parks together.

The open gesture of the tunnel and stairs define a large central space that can be flexibly used for a large variety of events. The generous space can house large crowds when important events are being organized, allows for maximum accessibility for service and technical vehicles and orientates the square towards the central area by defining large sitting edge overlooking the event area. At the same time the area can be occupied by the thin water film when not used for events in order to give the space a more human scale.

Project data
Location ​Moscow, Russian Federation Google Maps
Assignment ​Re-design park, entrance square
Size ​78,900 m²
Design ​2017-2018
Status ​Competiton entry
Client ​Strelka KB
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Gate of Hoorn

Hoorn, The Netherlands

A new identity for the Hoorn station zone

Karres and Brands was commissioned by the O-team to create a vision for the area around the Hoorn train station. The city has been trying to come up with a plan for this area for years, and in our opinion, most of the discussions have been overly focused on transportation and parking. Meanwhile, the public space has evolved into a kind of pragmatic, car-oriented holding ground. Our design aims to offer an attractive public space that can serve as a spatial framework for future developments—a public space where pedestrians and cyclists take centre stage.

 

The station’s location, right in between Hoorn’s historic city centre and later developments, forms an urban scar. Instead of connecting old and new, the station zone is a kind of inner-city edge, turning its back on both the historic centre and the newer districts, where important facilities, such as schools, workplaces and the hospital, are located. Our vision is thus to increase the contrast between the two areas and to use their unique strengths as a starting point. As a result, a new working and living environment will emerge next to the historic city centre: Hoorn Nieuwstad! The two different zones will complement each other and at the same time be completely different. Fundamental to the entire plan is creating maximum connection for pedestrians and cyclists, both between the two halves of the city and towards the central station.

An important part of our vision is closing the tunnel under the train track to car traffic. This will create a car-free zone on the city-centre side so that Hoorn’s iconic canal structure can eventually be restored. Attractive routes to the beach and historic centre will anchor the station as a new central point. The addition of a large Hoorn City Park will give the Pesman location back to the city, offering community facilities such as a cheese farm and a petting zoo, pavilions, cafés and an events area. For cars and busses, a new mobility hub will be installed on the north side, bringing strong, multifunctional density and a healthy urban mix. The connection between North and South will be further strengthened by a new footbridge.

The O-team submitted an integral recommendation for the development of the Gate of Hoorn that was partially based on Karres and Brands’s vision.

Project data
Location ​Hoorn, The Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Strategical advise and vision on station area
Design ​2019
Status ​Vision
Client ​Municipality Hoorn
In collaboration with ​NS, ProRail, Provincie Noord Holland
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Passerelle Zwolle

Zwolle, The Netherlands

Connecting North and South

The Zwolle train station is the most important railway junction in the northeastern Netherlands. Together with the 24-stop bus station, the station is the main hub of the regional public transport network. Located between Hanzeland and the city centre, the station acts as a pivotal point in Zwolle’s spatial-economic development. A new footbridge, known as the Passerelle Zwolle, will remove the barrier created by the railway and help drive further development in the adjoining Zuid district.

Having previously submitted a development perspective for the area, Karres and Brands was asked to further elaborate the footbridge. In the design study, various scenarios were elaborated and assessed for functionality, feasibility and financial consequences in consultation with the client and environment. In the design study, the footbridge’s landing on the city-centre side forms a new anchor point in the city. Spacious and comfortable staircases invite the pedestrian to make use of the bridge, and a new ’tapis roulant’ allows cyclists to easily reach the top. The footbridge is designed as an elevated street. Its image is defined by seating and characteristic planting, and it can be connected to new public buildings on both sides. In terms of materialization, it is a contemporary translation of the old footbridge from 1938. It is a clear and functional structure, and one that can be easily read: Zwolle’s “Iron Bridge”. The bridge’s connection with the past is further enriched with the use of new sustainable materials such as wood, flowering plants and an innovative “smart” lighting system.

Based on the design study, the municipal council was able to make informed decisions regarding the footbridge’s form and the related demolition and construction of buildings at the landings. It was also decided that the footbridge would be given top priority due to its importance for connecting Hanzeland and boosting development in Zuid.

Project data
Location ​Zwolle, The Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Scenario study and development of the passerelle
Size ​1 hectare
Design ​2018-2019
Construction ​2024
Status ​Preferred plan approved by board of directors
Client ​NS Stations Zwolle municipality
In collaboration with ​Team V, Prorail, Provincie Overijssel
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Hindenburgstraße

Mönchengladbach, Germany

Beyond shopping.

Karres en Brands has developed a new concept for the main shopping street Hindenburgstraße, in Mönchengladbach, Germany. As part of the urban strategy, Mönchengladbach wants to revitalize the street which as, in many other cities is faced with shop closing and decreasing commercial activity. Internet, changing daily shopping patterns and new store concepts have a big effect on the liveliness of the shopping street and urges for a new vision for city centres.

The Hindenburgstraße extends from the station to the historical city centre and market square. But the real DNA of Mönchengladbach, the historical character and stunning topography, are currently hidden from the main artery of the city. By looking beyond the street and reconnecting it to its adjacent neighbourhoods, we discovered new potential for development and revitalization.

The new organisation is formed by the introduction of three districts, each with their own distinct qualities, programming and design: The City Heart, the City Balcony and the City quarter. The districts will be distinguished by a different mix of living, working, leisure/gastronomy and shopping, strengthening the existing uses and identities. This is furthermore supported by interventions in the public spaces, such as tree planting, water management facilities and street furniture, making each area even more specific. Instead of emphasize the linear character of the Hindenburgstraße, each district will colour the Hindenburgstraße and give it its own identity.

The city Heart is the historical centre. The concept is enhancing the existing cultural and gastronomic program by offering a new quality of public space. An open and empty market square becomes a green oasis in the city centre by intensive tree planting. The city Quarter builds on the city strategy of transforming the neighbourhood into a mixed use residential, working and retail quarter. By enforcing the spatial connections, we believe the potential can even be bigger than thought till now. The City balcony is the most challenging and new concept of the three quarters. We propose a- symmetrical street: the sunny north side is more a traditional shopping street but the south side of the street opens itself to the DNA of the city. A mix of interventions like terracing the street to enhance the topography, diminish the paved surface and replaced it by green and even demolish built structure to make the connection to the cultural park make the street into a place to be, shopping or not.

By bringing back the historical and inherent qualities to the main street, the city centre ones again become relevant to the citizens of Mönchengladbach, not as a monofunctional shopping street but as a naturally part of the city centre.  

Project data
Location ​Mönchengladbach, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​Sketch design street transformation
Size ​32.400 m²
Design ​2019
Status ​Concept design
Client ​Stadt Mönchengladbach
Team ​Bart Brands, Ida Pedersen
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Weezenlanden Noord

Zwolle, The Netherlands

Collectivity is the starting point for the indoor and outdoor spaces and resounds on all levels

Karres en Brands is working on the design of Weezenlanden Noord in Zwolle, a new neighbourhood close to the city center after winning the design competition organized by housing association Openbaar Belang. Based on the urban development plan of Urhanh, Barcode Architects and Karres en Brands developed this integral green-urban masterplan, in close cooperation with Nijhuis, Explorius, Bouwinvest en DGRM. The plan consists of approximately 500 houses, 230 of which are social, with great diversity in public space and housing typology.

Collectivity is the starting point for the design of the indoor and outdoor spaces and resounds on all levels. The scale of the individual elements are an important reason for encounters between neighbours in your own street or on the other side of the block.

The meeting places designed around objects form a hybrid between your livingroom and the outside space. Such as a table, bench, stairs – integrated into a place in the outdoor area where you would like to meet with your family or neighbours. These special objects contribute to the recongnisability and collectivity of Weezenlanden Noord. By flexibly placing the objects through the phasing, and moving them along with the growth of the area, a high-quality outdoor space is created already in the first stage of the project.

In this special city district we look at green not only for use and experience, but also from the point of view of biodiversity and climate adaptation. Weezenlanden integrates biodiversity at all levels of scale. Water is also an important part of the design strategy of Weezenlanden Noord. It is a recognizable connector between environment, building and resident. Insteat of draining water as quickly as possible, the strategy in Weezenlanden Noord is to collect, filter and reuse the water in its own area. The mix of intensive green roofs, nature-inclusive facades, varied vegetation with water storage means that not only a lot of water is retained, but also a higher level of biodiversity is provided.

The next ten years we will work on the realization of this inclusive residential area where everyone can live, and which fits in with Zwolle. The first houses are expected to be delivered in 2023.

Project data
Location ​Zwolle, The Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design new district close to inner city Zwolle
Size ​2,5 ha
Design ​2019-2029
Status ​​Design
Client ​Woonstichting Openbaar Belang
Team ​Barcode Architects, Nijhuis, Explorius, Bouwinvest, DGMR
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New cultural heart for Stavanger

Stavanger, Norway

With the proposal ‘Three Houses and a Long Table’ Ghilardi+Hellsten and Karres en Brands with Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS have won the international design competition to transform the historical Nytorget site in Stavanger into a vibrant cultural hub. The new city space combines diverse cultural program such as a youth cultural center (Metropolis), art gallery and shops with diverse office program around a multi-functional green city space.

Located between the historical city center and the city’s eastern district, Nytorget currently houses some of the most exciting cultural and art initiatives for the youth of Stavanger, such as Metropolis (a cultural center for the youth). With a convincing proposal Ghilardi+Hellsten and Karres en Brands have built on the unique qualities of the site and put forth a plan anchored in the city fabric and centered around public space.

The jury notes: ”The proposal is chosen as winner, among other things, for its clear idea of a well-defined and delimited urban space. The main intervention also creates strong connections to the city and connects Nytorget with the old city center in a convincing way. Three houses and a long table” concentrate the energy towards a combined Nytorget around a green long table. The jury believes that this is crucial in order to facilitate urban life on the square.”

The Long table is a timeless simple intervention with the sole purpose of highlighting the activity on the square. Inspired by the community ritual revolving around the Longtable the proposal puts forth a metaphorical stage for community life. The Longtable is a hackable piece of urban infrastructure articulated by a set of edges and family of playful satellites that organize and activate the space strategically, while leaving room for informality and spontaneity in between. The Longtable is first and foremost a green oasis in the city! Instead of removing green to make room for activities we set green at the heart of the public space: a park in a square. This new space becomes the most important organizing element of the square, concentrating activity and providing a unique space that changes throughout the day and from season to season. Under the transparent green pergola of the trees, people can find comfort, meet up, and enjoy a break.

Three Houses is a mixed-use development that combines flexible space for various tenants (office, hotel, culture) interconnected by a multi-functional base that houses the local Youth Culture House (Metropolis). Each of the three houses respond to their context and articulate the streets-cape on all sides while still facilitating pedestrian connectivity trough a intimate inner space with characteristic narrow passages. The first two floors are designed for programmatic mix, with public groundfloors facilitating space for cafes, restaurants, gyms and shops. The office buildings are purposefully conceived to be topologically varied and house a greater diversity of businesses. Common to all three buildings is the fact they are built in wood, a local, sustainable material, with unique open floors and spectacular city views.

Project data
Location ​Stavanger, Norway Google Maps
Size ​1ha public space/parc, 15.000/20.000 m2 GFA culture/public/offices
Design ​2019
Status ​First prize in international design competition
In collaboration with ​Ghillardi + Hellsten, Florian Kosche
Copyright images ​ Visuals: PIKS
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MARK Green vertical village

Utrecht, Netherlands

Together with de Architekten Cie., KCAP Architects and Planners and Geurst & Schulze architecten, Karres en brands created the overall vision of MARK, which takes advantage of this unique opportunity for Utrecht to set a new standard in the approach on high-rise. High-rise is not a goal in itself, but needs to contribute to the dynamic of the city, the liveability on street level and provide an affordable, social and inclusive community with new mobility concepts within reach. Karres en Brands developed the concept which literally elevates the landscape into the sky in the form of a vertical village, with an urban forest at its heart and urban agriculture integrated on every level. The plan consists of three towers of 80, 100 and 140 metres high and will include 1,128 residences in different sectors.

The history and specific living quality of Leidsche Rijn formed the inspiration for the entire design a will include a high concentration of community spaces and spaces for collectivity such as rooftop restaurants, swimming pool, gym, communal laundry and kitchen facilities, shared visitor’s rooms, flexible work spots or makers’ ateliers for artists. An ambitious mobility concept will a.o. strategies provide a fleet of 100 shared cars for the future inhabitants. 

MARK offers a fantastic place where healthy urban living is stimulated in all its facets. Space has been reserved for common use and facilitating meetings between the residents. The project aims to combat the loneliness of living at height and can be seen as a modern vertical village. 

MARK consists of three towers, each with an illuminated ‘crown’ that refers to the history of Leidsche Rijn as a horticultural area. The crowns and the lower roofs function as horticultural greenhouses, in which urban agriculture can be used on a considerable scale. Here, the future of food production is seamlessly integrated in the daily lives of the inhabitants. The project thus contributes to making the food chain in the city more sustainable. Local production of vegetables and crops for consumption by residents and local neighbourhoods. This short food chain has a negative CO2 balance and at the same time guarantees a new biodiversity in the urban area. The homes will be delivered climate-neutral (EPC=0).

 

MARK offers the inhabitants of Utrecht a striking building with a highlight in the form of a ‘rooftop’ experience centre with restaurant and a glass balcony at 130 meters height. Restaurant and balcony are open to the public. Close to the area, a high-rise lab will be set up and residents of Leidsche Rijn will be challenged to participate in various parts of the development. 

Project data
Location ​Utrecht, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​​Highrise development
Size ​​1.128 apartments
Design ​​2018
Construction ​2019 - present
Status ​Won competition under development
Client ​Stadswaarde, Koopmans Bouwgroep B.V. (TBI) and JP van Eesteren (TBI)
In collaboration with ​de Architekten Cie., KCAP Architects and Planners and Geurst & Schulze architecten
Copyright images ​Architekten Cie., Karres en Brands, Studio A2, Vero visuals
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Vrijlandt garden village

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The garden village of the 21st century

With the development of the Vrijlandt Garden Village, Rotterdam will become home to yet another energy-neutral district. Vrijlandt builds on the principles of the 19th-century garden village while also providing an answer to the specific challenges of our time, namely inclusivity, new mobility, circularity, biodiversity preservation and climate adaptation. Karres and Brands was commissioned by Ballast Nedam to devise an urban plan and public space design.

Designing a new garden village

The original garden village concept is based on a healthy living environment, the promotion of community spirit and fascinating eye-level staging. The adjacent Vreewijk, designed by H.P. Berlage and Grandpré Molière, serves as an excellent example of this. The Vrijlandt Garden Village will be a new chapter in Vreewijk’s history. It is optimally connected to the surrounding areas via new bike routes, neighbourhood facilities, two new bridges and a tram stop. The plan consists of 240 houses and 50 apartments.

At the heart of the plan is a new canal surrounded by communal facilities such as a neighbourhood greenhouse, a cherry garden and a playground island. A variety of intimate streets run perpendicular to the canal, and thanks to subtle differences in landscaping and architecture, each street has its own character. From each street, the eye is drawn to a house across the water. The streetscape is determined by large lines, front gardens with hedges and a variety of tree species. In order to increase the recognizability of individual streets, each one has a dominant tree species. In addition, various types of hedges will be planted around the front gardens, enhancing the greenness of the streets. The continuous hedges in the back and the architecturally integrated flower boxes create an overall appearance that is lush and garden-like.

Car parking areas are, for the most part, not visible from the inner courtyards. This gives the streets a car-free, small-scale and green character. The chosen parking solution actually adds to the garden village concept, creating atmospheric and meaningful places that are an extension of the private home and garden. The elaboration of the public space and architecture is based on the primary characteristics of a garden village, including front gardens, hedges and architectural elements such as gates, bay windows, red roofs and intricate brickwork.

Designed for the 21st century

Our public space design is climate-adaptive and child-friendly. Playfulness will be brought to the landscape in a variety of ways, and every street will have wide sidewalks. By including elements like nesting boxes for birds in the façades and hedgehog houses under storage areas, the design also contributes to a rich biodiversity. The starting point for the entire plan is energy neutrality. Solar panels will be installed on top of storage sheds and on the rear sides of roofs, out of sight from the streets. Through all these interventions, the new garden village will respond to the challenges of the 21st century.

 

Project data
Location ​Rotterdam, The Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Urban plan en public space design
Size ​7,7 ha / 290 dwellings
Design ​2019
Construction ​Starting in 2021
Status ​Winner tender
Client ​Ballast Nedam
Team ​Jasper Nijveldt, Oswin Noordergraaf, Cristina Colonetti, Joep Meijer
In collaboration with ​KOW Architecten, Winters & ©️, VERO Digital
Copyright images ​Karres en Brands, VERO Digital (renders)
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The Hoef West urban district

Amersfoort, Nederland

From monofunctional office zone to multifaceted urban district

 

Hoef West is currently a monofunctional office zone with various educational institutions. After an intensive process with owners, developers, companies, residents and the municipality, Karres and Brands has developed a plan to gradually transform the area into a multifaceted, inclusive city district. The realization of 2,500 new housing units and the expansion of several educational institutions, combined with the preservation of 5,000 jobs, all make Hoef West one of the largest regional area development projects in the Netherlands.

Central to Karres and Brands’ urban plan is the redefinition of public space. The exchange of private and public space allows for the creation of a more compact area and the development of a strong urban framework with new streetwalls, compact squares, parks and canals. The public space, which is currently functional, hard and primarily intended for cars, will be transformed into a modern, climate adaptive public space designed with pedestrians and cyclists in mind. A new canal structure across the area will connect various green and water structures. At the heart of the district will be the new Hoef Park. The introduction of small streets will make the area closely knit and permeable. 

Mobility hubs, alternative mobility concepts, pedestrians and cyclists play a central role in the plan for Hoef West. New bicycle and pedestrian connections with the surrounding area will be created, and bicycle paths will be adapted for e-bikes. Cars and bikes will be parked in mobility hubs and shared transportation can be rented. The mobility hubs will also serve as energy storage points. At ground level, there is space for local facilities such as a pick-up point, a dry-cleaning service or a gym. By moving the bicycles parked in the square in front of the station to the closest mobility hub, the refurbished square can become Hoef West’s trademark.

The fundamental principles for construction are the composite city block made up of distinct structures and variation in housing typologies, workspaces and attractive interior courtyards. In collaboration with Urhahn, the plan is translated into a development framework with concrete urbanistic preconditions and guidelines for the development of individual plots. These preconditions relate to construction, compactness, functional variety and sustainability and are designed to serve as a guiding light for developers. In short, the preconditions are designed to contribute to smart, sustainable development. And not only is the plan focused on energy, it also aims to promote inclusiveness, circularity, mobility, health, greenification, biodiversity and climate adaptation. Developers will be explicitly asked to think outside of the parameters of their own property. This will make the development complex, while at the same time bringing a distinct added value to the area as a whole. 

In September 2019, the plan was approved by the municipal council of Amersfoort. In cooperation with various stakeholders and the municipality, it will be implemented in the coming years. Karres and Brands will design the public space and continue to serve as supervisor for future development. Construction is expected to begin in 2020.

Read more about this project and download the development framework on the Amersfoort Municipality website 

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Project data
Location ​Amersfoort, Nederland Google Maps
Assignment ​Ontwikkelkader De Hoef West en supervisie
Size ​38 hectare, 2500 woningen, 5000 banen
Design ​2007 - heden
Status ​Vastgesteld
Client ​Gemeente Amersfoort
In collaboration with ​Urhahn
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Svobodny

Svobodny, Russian Federation

In collaboration with STRELKA KB, Karres en Brands has developed a regenerative strategy for the city Svobodny, in the Amur region, Russia. Svobodny, a formerly booming mining city, with worn-down and insufficient public infrastructure, expects rapid growth of the economy and an increase in population. This presents special challenges and opportunities for the city.

The complexity of the assignment, concerning both social, spatial, economic and technical challenges, has required a broad research and interdisciplinary working process. Guided by 7 vision points and through a holistic and robust landscape-based approach, the strategy aims to regenerate the city, responding to the many existing layers of the city and the unique qualities of its surrounding landscape.

Green city

The city of Svobodny is located on 3 terraces at the edge between the Zeya river and the hills, north of the city. Today the great natural assets surrounding the city are both mentally and physically disconnected, hidden, inaccessible, and polluted with trash. The main aim of the green city vision is to develop the city with a stronger relation to its natural resources, making it more attractive and locally embedded in its context. By restoring and reconnecting existing green spaces in and around the city, and adding a new hierarchy of green spaces, recreative qualities are brought directly to the front-door of the residents, improving both ecology and improving everyday life in the city.

Landscape types 1. Hills / forest 2. Green border 3. Green corridor - river valley 4. River (Zeya) 5. Wetland (seasonally standing water) 6. Plateau edge

Recreational route

A recreational route based on existing infrastructure such as historical water towers, connects the different destinations around the city, and highlights the unique landscape features of the area. Guided by signage, local interventions, and a virtual platform, the route puts Svobodny on the regional map, as an attractive destination for both tourists and local residents.

Centres of city life

The framework of public spaces is an important part of creating a cohesive, active, culturally rich and safe city. Svobodny has a large group of active citizens who are part of contributing to a wide range of city events and festivals during the year. However, these events are not well supported by the public spaces in the city, and the network of public spaces is fragmented, unequally distributed and lacks identity. By identifying meeting points at different scales, historical objects, valuable cultural programs and provision
of amenities, a strong hierarchy is reintroduced, and the local character of each living district is strengthened.

Natural and Urban water system

Water strategy

The current water system is not properly developed to manage run-off water from the hills, heavy-rainfall and flooding incidents. As part of the green strategy,simple interventions upgrade the existing water system, making the city more antifragile, by preventing flooding, erosion of road surfaces and minimizing pollution in natural systems.

Urban water system Buffer area for storm water Improvement of air quality Vegetation and water improving climate comfort in public spaces

Safe and comfortable streets

The streets in Svobodny are currently in a poor condition. Many roads are without paving, leaving the dirt roads open to erosion and worsening dust and dirt pollution. This creates an uncomfortable microclimate, limiting activities and impacting health in the urban spaces. Furthermore, the organisation of the street profiles and an under equipment and low-service level for the public transport system makes travel for pedestrians and cyclists inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Through the establishment of a street hierarchy, major repairs and reconstruction is given priority and at the same time, used as a tool to resolve microclimatic challenges such as climate comfort, pollution/dust/trash, wayfinding and stormwater management. Additional pedestrian crossings and renovation of existing elevated bridges are suggested across the rail to improve connectivity, hereby ensuring a higher level of connectivity and providing more sustainable and healthy options for transport in Svobodny.

Project data
Location ​Svobodny, Russian Federation Google Maps
Assignment ​Strategisch masterplan
Size ​224 ha (totale ontwikkeling) 157 ha (bestaand stedelijk gebied)
Design ​2017 -2018
Status ​Uitgevoerd
Client ​STRELKA KB
Team ​Darius Reznek, Ida Pedersen, Jan Willem van Veelen
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Get Sunflowered!

Morwell, Australia

First steps in the in regional revitalisation program in Latrobe, Australia

The larger, Transiting Cities: Low Carbon Futures Latrobe Valley program, initiated and led by RMIT University and OUTR (Office of Urban Transformation Research), aims to help Latrobe Valley shift from its existing, coal dependent economy, to more sustainable economic and spatial models. Karres en Brands made a proposal for the design competition in 2012 and have been involved since as consultants with Bart Brands as steering committee member.

Get Sunflowered - Karres en Brands

The program is targeting the mining cities of Morwell, Churchill, Traralgon and Moe. However, the harsh impact and cost of fossil fuels was felt late 2014 when a heavy fire started in one of the open pit mines next to Morwell. This has brought the city into the center of attention of, not just researchers and designers, but politicians as well. The city is now the focus of an extensive research and planning process aimed at strategically shaping a shared vision for a sustainable future of the city. Under the name Future Morwell. The Morwell Recovery Plan, focuses on urban design , beautification, branding, infrastructure and economic growth. With consultancy from Karres en Brands, RMIT and OUTR have shaped a vision for Morwell which aims to ignite long term transformations through small acupuncture like interventions that involve and stimulate inhabitants.

One such programs is the Get Sunflowered initiative, started by OUTR together with artist Ben Morrieson, community groups and local government. The program transforms redundant and unused spaces into beautiful sunflower gardens as a means of empowering local communities. These temporary gardens include designs by international landscape architecture practices as well as local groups. They are built, maintained and used by inhabitants, and enable citizens to understand how they can be active agents of chance in their community.

Karres en Brands made the design for one of the sunflower gardens and it is great to see it grow into a such a successful community space. Inhabitants come together to plant and maintain the garden, as well as to celebrate. Parties, with live music, food and entertainment, and even the traditional Easter egg hunt have periodically made this empty plot a vibrant space for city life. OUTR and Ben Morrieson have been awarded with the Victorian Landscape architecture Award of excellence for community design for their Get Sunflowered initiative.

Project data
Location ​Morwell, Australia Google Maps
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Innovation worklandscape De Run

Veldhoven, The Netherlands

Smart and seamlessly through the Innovation Worklandscape of De Run

Business park ‘De Run’ demands a highly ambitious development perspective, due to its complex collection of actors like the Municipality, local initiatives and big players like ASML, MMC hospital, The Dutch Mountains and High Tech Campus Eindhoven. The Innovation Worklandscape De Run integrates work, mobility and public space. Instead of developing in separate aspects of the landscape, the Innovation Worklandscape revolves around the qualities that arise when integrating green, water, public space, mobility, business developments and programming.

The current pressure on parking lots and infrastructure in the area requires a new way of looking at mobility. A smart and seamless network is envisioned across the entire region, including robust connections, mobility hubs and a Smartlane that connects De Run through new ways of transportation.With these interventions we change both the ‘software’ of the network, by using incentives that stimulate other ways of transportation in a soft, rewarding way, aswell as in the ‘hardware’ of the infrastructural landscape. This way, a network is created on various scales that links strategic places with regional connectivity, based on expanding the current connections and removing bottlenecks. The iconic infrastructure contributes to the public image and business climate of De Run and will bring you to your destination in a fast, smart and comfortable way.

The places where the Smartlane interacts with the landscape and businesses, new iconic points appear in the innovation landscape. Through large interventions or small initiatives, these points become the places where sustainability, liveliness, interactions and cross-fertilisation can thrive. A ring of public spaces connects the different parts of De Run. Each public square has a character that reflects the identity of the landscape and the businesses on that location. The public spaces are eminently the places where the integration of all layers of the landscape and the unique character of De Run is celebrated. In addition, green spaces are always close to your workplace, the water system is visibly integrated in the public space design and the infrastructure creates possibilities of saving and generating energy.

Project data
Location ​Veldhoven, The Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Development perspective and vision on mobility
Size ​200 hectares
Design ​2017 - 2018
Status ​Vision
Client ​Municipality of Veldhoven
Team ​Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Marit Noest
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Bicycle bridge Cuijk-Mook

Cuijk-Mook, Netherlands

Connection between two landscape structures

The bicycle bridge between Cuijk and Mook is situated on a special landscape transition. On the northern side of the river Meuse, the village of Mook lies on the edge of the moraine of the Rijk van Nijmegen. An enclosed landscape with a fine network of lanes and roads and stately planting. On the south side of the Meuse lies the young clay landscape of Cuijk. A large-scale open agricultural landscape only intersected by the historic ribbon development, the overflow ditch and the more recent railway. The river Meuse intersects this asymmetrical landscape context. This river, with its sequence of dike, floodplain, river with trees marking the riverbanks, floodplain and again dike, has a symmetrical design.

All facets of the bridge project reflect this special landscape. The choice of a symmetrical set-up for the design of the bridge strengthens the regularity of the river. The new bicycle bridge joins the silhouette of the existing bridge and contrasts sharply with the crooked trees on the banks of the Meuse. The bridge has a sharp vertical edge at the abutments towards the adjacent landscapes; there, the bridge turns into a slope, where the planting takes the color of the landscape.

On the Mook side, the bridge slope has a sheltered, wooded layout. The existing trees on the railway embankment remain as much as possible. If trees have to make room for the bridge’s new ramps, local species (oak, beech, hornbeam) will take their place, planted in an irregular pattern. Beech hedges flank the embankments on the Mook side, so that fences along the steep slopes are not necessary. The characteristic hornbeams in the corner points of the railway bridge at the intersection with the N271 get a new place at the outside of the new bicycle bridge.

On the Cuijk side, the slope gets an open character and the cyclist has a panoramic view of the young clay polders. Between the track and the cycle path, the characteristic shrub-forming planting of the Meuse hedges (hawthorn, blackthorn, oak) is retained as much as possible; these will be replanted where necessary. A strip of flowery grassland runs along the cycle path, leaving the view to the polder open. An iconic lime tree, placed in the corner of the crossing, accentuates the crossing of the cycle path with the Mariagaarde. The overflow ditch is recognizable again by the installation of a simple bridge and the planting of pollard willows along the stream.

Project data
Location ​Cuijk-Mook, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Bicycle Bridge and Landscaping
Size ​Total length bridge 577m
Design ​2018
Construction ​2018-2020
Status ​design phase
Client ​Cuijk Municipality
Team ​Sylvia Karres, Jonas Papenborg, David Kloet, Joep Meijer
In collaboration with ​Züblin-HSM, Quist Wintermans Architekten
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Maria Hilf Terraces

Mönchengladbach, Germany

Former hospital area transforms into lively urban neighborhood, accessible for all

karres+brands, in collaboration with Urban Agency and Urbanization.dk, works to transform the Maria Hilf hospital area into a new residential development. The site is located at the edge of the historical center of the German town Mönchengladbach where the city plans to realize a new neighborhood by 2020. The hospital functions will be abandoned and the site will begin its transformation into a vibrant housing area anchored in the surroundings. Our proposal is defined by a robust urban framework, with terraces of building blocks and a new barrier free path meandering through the site. From being strongly divided by fences and topography, Maria Hilf Terraces will become a vibrant urban neighborhood with strong physical and visual connections to the surrounding urban fabric, providing level free access for all. 

We worked intensely in collaboration with local citizens and stakeholders to develop a future vision for the old hospital site. Today the site is strongly divided by fences, closed perimeter blocks and a height difference of almost 10 meters. The topography is a distinctive feature of Maria Hilf, but at the same time forms an unbridgeable barrier for the elderly and disabled citizens of Mönchengladbach. In the winning master plan we introduce a series of plateaus which spread out the concentrated height difference of the site and mimic the characteristics of the surrounding city. A barrier-free path forms the backbone of the new neighborhood and seamlessly bridges the gap between the lowest and the highest point of the site. It meanders through the site, creating a string of public spaces, which draw upon the DNA of Mönchengladbach opening up to impressive views and strengthening visual connections to important landmarks.

Maria Hilf Terraces is not only a lively urban neighborhood, but is an important new connection in the city. The site links the old town and the Buntergarten to the north and forms the missing puzzle piece in the series of green parks and public spaces running from south to north of the city. By opening up the block and highlighting important pedestrian connections, the master plan strengthens the pedestrian network for the citizens of Mönchengladbach, activates the bordering streets and ensures a complete integration of the new neighborhood into the urban fabric of Mönchengladbach.

The framework of the master plan provides a variety of possibilities for residential typologies; from buildings in the green, apartments overlooking the landscape or the possibility of smaller development groups. As a continuous line through the plan,the urban development mimicsthe DNA of the city, with its colorful variety of facades, a strong defined edge to the outside and an open courtyard with a richness of recesses, extensions and notches, creating an exciting edge zone between the courtyard and the building.The terracing of the site furthermore ensures an optimization of sunlight and views towards the city for the future development and creates comfortable microclimates, protected from the southern winds.

Project data
Location ​Mönchengladbach, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​Masterplan - Transformation of a former hospital area into housing
Size ​5ha, 78.000 m², 700 units
Design ​2017- present
Status ​​competition 1st prize, in progress
Client ​Stadt Mönchengladbach
Team ​Bart Brands, Ida Pedersen, Sander Vedder, Inga Zielonka
In collaboration with ​Urban Agency, Urbanization.dk
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The Connected City

Oberbillwerder - Hamburg, Germany

Lively and vibrant city of the future connects cultural landscape and inhabitants

Within the proposal ‘the Connected City’, Karres en Brands together with ADEPT and Transsolar are developing the master plan for a 360 ha area close to Hamburg City Center. Close to both city and landscape, Oberbillwerder is the largest one-off development in Germany since Hafen City. Fully built, the masterplan will include about 1.000.000 m² in a mix of housing (7000 houses), business (5000 workplaces), shopping, public buildings and recreational activities.

A location between meadows, cultivated farming landscape and suburban sprawl gives Oberbillwerder, just a 15 minutes ride from the center of Hamburg, an enormous potential as an attractive urban development area with a highly livable and vibrant city environment. The masterplan for the area shows how Oberbillwerder can grow as a city of the future, through a visionary approach to architecture, infrastructure and resources .

The infrastructure in the Connected City ensures rapid connections to Hamburg’s city center but prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, while looking into the future of mobility. The unifying green artery that encircles the plan provides access to all neighborhoods, public buildings and recreational activities. The overall development strategy embraces social, financial and environmental sustainability as well as climate adaption though a nuanced distribution of functions, typologies and resources.

“With the design of ”the Connected City” the jury has selected a forward-looking concept for Oberbillwerder. We want to create a district that shows us what Hamburg should look like in the future. Oberbillwerder should stand for the pleasure of designing, with the possibility to design a lively and urban, future-oriented district as part of our strategy ”Mehr Stadt an neuen Orten” in a beautiful natural and cultural landscape.” - Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, Senator for Urban Development and Housing

”The selected design offers an excellent planning basis. The concept deals very precisely with the sensitive cultural landscape and develops a very specific contribution to this location. He has a good sense for the right scale, creates a diverse range of different living and working opportunities and makes great with the first proposals for possible architectural ideas.” - Franz-Josef Höing, Oberbaudirektor Hamburg

A mosaic of neighborhoods are formed within the masterplan, linked by pedestrian and cyclist friendly streets and blue/green arteries. The different characters are defines by climate adaption: wide canals, large green rain beds and narrow blue streams, or concave street profiles and thin linear trenches. The future inhabitants can then choose a way of living; canal living, landscape living or urban living. Each of these, the starting point of developing unique housing typologies and collective facilities.

Project data
Location ​Oberbillwerder - Hamburg, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​mixed-use masterplan
Size ​360 ha / 124 ha / 1.000.000 GFA / 7000 houses, 5000 workplaces
Design ​2018
Status ​Competition 1st prize
Client ​Hamburg Stadt, IBA Hamburg
Team ​Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Inga Zielonka, Paola Salviano de Souza, Ken Spangberg
In collaboration with ​ADEPT, Transsolar, Büro Happold, Kraft
Copyright images ​ADEPT, Karres en brands, Doug & Wolf (aerial)
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Vivaldi Rooftop Park

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A green oasis in the heart of Amsterdam Zuid

The Vivaldi Rooftop Park on top of the Breevast headquarters in Amsterdam was designed by karres+brands in collaboration with the green roof specialists at Dakdokters. Together, we transformed a dull, inaccessible gravel rooftop into a colourful, inviting rooftop park. At approximately 2000m2, it is one of the largest rooftop parks in Amsterdam Zuid.

karres+brands was responsible for the project’s design and landscaping plan, whereas Dakdokters supported its technical development, architectural testing and the implementation of Polder Roof® technology into the design. This ingenious green roof system collects and stores rainwater to be used for rooftop plants, and any surplus water can be gradually phased into the rainwater drainage system.

Another important design feature is the roof’s 150-meter-long path, whose varying widths give way to spacious areas where people can gather and relax. Designed to take full advantage of the sun, these areas provide users with outdoor meeting areas and a place where office workers can enjoy a little stroll and a breath of fresh air. The choice of plants also plays an important role in the park’s design. Ornamental grasses are interspersed among blue-grey perennials, ensuring a rich variety of colour and texture. The seasonal characteristics and staggered flowering periods of the various plants highlight the four seasons, so users can enjoy the roof year-round. Through the creative management of substrate thickness, we were able to integrate a diverse array of plants and even create space for several trees. Certain plants have been specifically chosen to attract bees and other insects. Thanks to the Polder Roof® system, the rooftop garden stays green even in the driest of seasons: a lush oasis in the busy, concrete-intensive environment of Amsterdam Zuid.

The Vivaldi Rooftop Park was opened on 13 July 2017 by Alderperson Abdeluheb Choho, who enthusiastically installed a bee hotel. Not only does the project provide an attractive outdoor space for office employees, it also contributes to the sustainable development of a greener living environment and the preservation of the ecosystem. 

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, The Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design rooftop park
Size ​2000 m2
Design ​2017
Construction ​2017
Status ​Realised
Client ​Breevast
Budget ​€220,000
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Uta Krause, Jeroen Hoogenraad, Joost de Natris
In collaboration with ​De Dakdokters
Copyright images ​De Dakdokters
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Neerland Construction Zones B/D

Wilrijk, Belgium

Sustainable living on a mineral to ecological spectrum

In collaboration with Hub, Areal Architects, Matexi and Talboom, Karres en Brands has created a design for an ecological district in Wilrijk, Belgium. Located in the greater Antwerp region, Neerland is an important link in the Superpark Zuiderpark ecosystem. In order to integrate the Neerland construction project into Antwerp’s ecosystem, our proposal focuses on creating a unique living environment based on the natural conditions already present on site, namely topography, water and green.

The Neerland design aims to strike a balance between nature and culture, creating a spectrum of different atmospheres. On the north side, the sturdy building volumes and stone-paved square coincide with Wilrijk’s mineral character and urban structure. Located on the Krijgslaan, the square is part of the green boulevard along the park and serves as an entrance to the new neighbourhood. The southern portion of the site is in harmony with the park’s natural landscape and reinforces the design’s ecological values. Surrounding this area is the Park van Eeden; therefore, the site’s relationship with the park plays a crucial role in the design. On one hand, there are plenty of opportunities to interweave the park landscape and the new district; on the other, it is important to ensure careful transitions from public to private space. These transitions are formed through the clever use of height differences. The entire area is divided into four terraces, which culminate in a landscape balcony facing the park.

Through an extensive system of green roofs, wadis, water-permeable materials and small-scale canals, the design allows rainwater to be filtered on site and reused in a sustainable manner. Not only does this natural filtration system and separation of water flows reduce pressure on the sewer system, it also creates a visible change in the public space: pathways are transformed into footbridges over the water, gutters become streams that highlight the area’s topography, and delightful water gardens are formed in front of people’s homes. These innovations ensure that sustainability is achieved on a human scale, offering a high quality of living for the present and future. 

Project data
Location ​Wilrijk, Belgium Google Maps
Assignment ​Design a new ecological district outside Antwerp
Size ​3 ha
Design ​2017
Status ​Competition, 2nd prize
Client ​AG Vespa
Team ​Sylvia Karres, David Kloet, Marit Noest, Marlena Rether, Ken Spangberg
In collaboration with ​Hub Architects, Areal Architects, Matexi, Talboom
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Reinforcing the IJsseldijk in Krimpenerwaard (Project KIJK)

Krimpenerwaard, Netherlands

Spatial integration plan for Project KIJK

In 2011, a large portion of the Hollandsche IJsseldijk on the Krimpenerwaard side failed a macro stability inspection of its inner side, which was carried out as part of the national High Water Protection Programme. It was thus concluded that if we don’t take action, the dyke may eventually shift toward the polder. Reinforcing this 10-km dyke is a complex project due to the numerous structures and monumental buildings along it and the fact that the dyke forms an important connection for cars, bikes and cargo transport. Thus, the District Water Control Board of Schieland and Krimpenerwaard has hired karres+brands and Wageningen Environmental Research to develop a spatial vision for the project.

Realizing spatial quality in such a large and complex dyke reinforcement project is no small task. It is important to start with a simple, robust framework that will remain in place throughout the often turbulent processes of planning and implementation. In a project like KIJK, creating large-scale spatial quality is primarily a question of preserving both urban and rural structures and systems. Therefore, our spatial integration plan aims to logically integrate the landscape and village environment into a design that radiates beauty and simplicity. On a smaller scale, creating spatial quality is a question of devising solutions and connecting old and new elements.

First and foremost, the vision identifies the current spatial characteristics. These characteristics are visible on different scales: from the greater dyke landscape and the urban elements along the dyke to typical spatial ensembles and individual elements on the dyke. As a starting point for the spatial vision map, we considered these characteristics in light of the following principles:

1. The current dyke constitutes a recognisable and continuous landscape element, which should remain unchanged.
The dyke should always be recognisable as one continuous element. However, due to the many buildings on and along it, the dyke is not an autonomous element in its environment. Therefore, the top of the dyke will have a basic layout with a standard road profile. This unified approach to road design will contribute to the recognisability and continuity of the dyke. Outside this profile, the dyke will add character to its surroundings.

2. The dyke’s urban planning characteristics help determine the solutions for its reinforcement.
There are several urban planning units to be designated along the dyke, namely the green dyke line, industrial clusters, residentials clusters outside the dyke (e.g. Krimpen aan den IJssel) and the village centre. Strengthening the distinction between various urban planning units serves as a point of departure for the project vision. In order to achieve this distinction, the solutions proposed for the dyke reinforcement need be aligned with the area’s urban planning characteristics.

3. The dyke is a dividing line between two landscapes.
The dyke forms a sharp divide between the Krimpenerwaard landscape on one side and the Hollandsche IJssel on the other side. Through the integration of the dyke reinforcement project, the goal is to maintain the distinction between the two sides by preserving—and where possible, reinforcing—the landscape’s characteristics on both sides of the dyke. These characteristics include panoramic views, water-related industries and Krimpenerwaard’s water system.

4. Special consideration for a number of ‘custom’ locations.
Continuity is important for ensuring that the dyke is recognisable as a super-local structure and oriented in the landscape. At the local level, however, there are certain special cases along the dyke—e.g. monumental buildings and characteristic farms—that need to be accommodated. Therefore, while our plan aims create overall continuity, it also makes loving exceptions for these details and proposes custom solutions.

This spatial vision, among other factors, will serve as a basis for selecting the preferred dyke reinforcement method and exploring opportunities for its integration. Eventually, it will be developed into a broader spatial integration process.

Project data
Location ​Krimpenerwaard, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Create spatial vision and integration plan for the reinforcement of the Hollandsche IJsseldijk between Gouderak and Krimpen aan de IJssel
Size ​approx. 10 km
Design ​2017
Construction ​Starting in 2021
Status ​Spatial integration plan underway
Client ​The District Water Control Board of Schieland and Krimpenerwaard
Team ​Sylvia Karres, David Kloet, Jonas Papenborg, Marit Noest
In collaboration with ​Wageningen Environmental Research (WER)
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Vreiland

Amsterdam, Netherlands

An inclusive neighbourhood where there is always something to experience

In 2017, Karres en Brands was part of one of five teams selected for the redevelopment of the former penitentiary complex in Overamstel. In our proposal, submitted with fellow team members Round Hill Capital, Paul de Ruiter Architects, Rijnboutt and ABT, the cultural history of the Bijlmerbajes complex is absolutely essential to the future neighbourhood’s identity. A nod to the prison’s history, the area remains recognizable as an enclave. Our design maintains the profile of the six towers and reinforces the enclave with a construction proposal that seeks edges and intensifies corners.

The Bijmerbajes are is situated within the second phase of the Overamstel transformation project. The area is in a desirable location within Amsterdam’s peripheral ring and centrally positioned between the city’s three main urban hubs: Amsterdam centre, Amsterdam Zuid and Zuidoost centre. The starting point for the Amstel Quarter is to create a highly urban living environment: highly dense, compactly constructed and multi-functional. According to the plan, the building blocks will border both quiet interior streets and the future Amstelstroomlaan, a major city boulevard. Vreiland is a car-free neighbourhood where residents can walk, bike and play in the streets, a place where they can enjoy leisure activities like table tennis, sports, reading and more. Our design offers the space and conditions for residents to decide for themselves how they want to use their streets. In addition to the centrally located boulevard and squares, which are designed as shared spaces for bikers and pedestrians, the public space proposes typological variety. Common courtyards are connected via informal walking paths, creating intimacy in the residential environment.

The neighbourhood is born of expanding human needs in the city. Rather than seeing the past as dead weight, our design treats it as an incentive for creating maximum quality of life. Instead of a traditional image quality plan, Vreiland has a living quality plan, which includes guidelines for enjoyable living, green outdoor spaces, healthy mobility, conscious living, social quality and development. A crucial aspect of the design is the preservation of the prison complex’s ‘silhouette’, maintaining its six iconic towers as a reminder of the past. The towers, each 60 metres tall, are built on a foundation of three to five layers. For the sake of their ground-level experience, the towers face the central axis. Minimal shifting maximises the view from the towers and vice versa.

To contrast to the high density of buildings, an expansive public space provides plenty of green. This public space is the binding element in the urban development strategy: the edges define the enclave (like a moat) with the former warden village and various urban areas along the central axis. The diagonal positioning of the public and private space is maintained in a dominant rectangular composition, an echo of the past in terms of size and scale. Another binding element in the urban development strategy is the network of telephone poles. The street known as the ‘Kalverstraat’ defines a series of diverse, mutually bound urban spaces. Together with the strong sequence of semi-public spaces along the axis, they function as a membrane, weaving together a mosaic of gardens. The end of the ‘Kalverstraat’ is marked by a the main building, which has been preserved.

Through the combination of various living typologies, Vreiland becomes a place for everyone from students and starters to families and seniors, offering a variety of free sector and social housing for sale and rent. Vreiland offers a unique environment that is all at once highly urban and car-free, a place where residents feel safe on the streets and children can play carefree. An intricate network of green outdoor space invites users to move and explore.

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Redevelopment of a former penitentiary in Over-Amstel
Size ​7.5 hectares / 135,000 m² GFA
Design ​2017
Status ​Competition entry, finalist
Client ​Consortium Round Hill Capital
Team ​David Kloet, Justyna Chmielewska, Sander Vedder, Olya Panchovska
In collaboration with ​Stadium Capital Partners, Vivo Development, bbn adviseurs, Paul de Ruiter Architects, Rijnboutt, ABT, DWa, MOOi lost op
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Loodswezensite

Antwerp, Belgium

Quay Line, a balcony over the Scheldt

The Participatie Maatschappij Vlaanderen (Flanders Participation Society) has been assigned by the Flemish Region, City of Antwerp and Waterwegen & Zeekanaal (W&Z) to redevelop the Loodswezensite (Pilotage Building site) in Antwerp. The area is home to several protected monuments, including the Buoy Shed and the Pilotage Building itself, which until recently has housed the water-related entities of the Flemish Government. Currently, the outdoor space is used for storage and parking. The new RUP calls for the development of a tidal garden around the historic Marguerie dock, an entrance plaza on the Red Light District side and an event area toward the North Terrace. In collaboration with a diverse team, karres+brands has created a design for the project.


The quays are undoubtedly Antwerp’s most characteristic landscape. Although it has been a long time since they were used purely by the port, they are still partially accessible. However, a fence blocks the direct contact between the city and river. It is an area worthy of recognition, but its dignity is undermined by a concrete retaining wall, excessive parking and neglect. Antwerp has many faces, all of which are entitled to a unique relationship with the river; thus, the intention is not to create a uniform image for all the quay zones. 

Nevertheless, some form of unity, coherence and continuity along the quays is desired. Therefore, a unique design language has been chosen within the project area, while still recognising distinct zones where different sub-characters emerge: the green oasis for the tidal gardens, the urban forecourt, the active outdoor area around the new building and the spacious, green area along the Scheldt, which is ideal for multi-purpose use and events.

The karres+brands design for the Antwerp quays’ outdoor space includes a large, two-metre-high dam, which forms an integral part of the public domain. This makes the dam less recognisable as such and allows it to assume the context’s character. Rather than being a physical or mental barrier, it connects the city to the water. In various places, the dam can accommodate functional elements such as stairs, benches, play installations or viewing points.

The subsoil around the Pilotage Building is characterised by archaeological remains from medieval roads, historic shipyards, streams, medieval houses, and the Napoleonic quay walls. Everything aboveground was levelled in the 19th Century, but the underground has been well preserved. These remains bring history to life in the public domain, and the design derives its identity from the place.

Project data
Location ​Antwerp, Belgium Google Maps
Assignment ​Develop outdoor space
Size ​3.4 hectares / 32,250 m² GFA
Design ​2016
Status ​Competition entry, tender cancelled
Client ​Flemish Region, City of Antwerp and Waterwegen & Zeekanaal NV
Team ​Sylvia Karres, Bart Brands, Jeroen Matthijssen, Joep Meijer, Darius Reznek
In collaboration with ​VanHaerents, Artes Projects, B-architecten, Mouton, ARVS, Arcadis and Cenergie
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Triango

Triangle de Gonesse – Paris, France

Interaction between building and environment offers new possibilities for work, recreation and nature

Triango is the winning proposal for a new type of office area, one that is lively and diverse, functional, but at the same time, ambitious and experimentalwhere sustainability is promoted in every sense of the word. Not only is Triango an anchor in the development of the Triangle de Gonesse, it also serves as a reference for the type of office area we aim to create. Through the combination of nature, sport and work, Triango generates a new range of possibilities, creating space for the known, new and unexpected.

Triango is our vision for a new way of working: an office area that is not defined by iconic buildings but rather by high-quality public space. The interaction between buildings and environment offers new possibilities for work, sport, recreation, and of course, nature. Just as natural elements are defined by their links with different molecules, the park is strengthened by its public space and inter-building connections. Rather than fighting iconic architecture, Triango seeks synergy. Triango — a subtle icon.

The masterplan is structured along a very robust framework that articulates the edges of the site around a lush green central park. The membrane of buildings reacts to unique site qualities and defines 3 characteristic zones: The urban zone, is a compact strip, where, transparent, active, ground floors and open public spaces, consisting of gardens and green atriums, create a lively urban character. At the centre of the urban zone is a large production greenhouse which will provide energy-neutral food and ingredientsused in the products of the companies working in the area and for small local shops and restaurants. The organic zone, takes advantage of the south orientation to the seamlessly connect with the green. The park connects on different levels with the buildings and form innovative outdoor areas for new ways of work and recreation, such as tribunes for watching the ongoing sport activities, a climbing wall along the building facade, plateaus towards the water and an outdoor conference/lecture atrium. 

The landmark zone runs along the highway and forms a striking façade towards the A1. It acts as an iconic landmark, seen by the many motorists passing by every day. At night a large production greenhouse on the roof, illuminated from inside, acts as a lighthouse, seen from afar. 

A metaphor for natural systems, the spine is the main route through the area. It connects the outlying areas with all important destinations in the park, establishing an office–park relationship through the creation of unique, dynamic spaces. It also functions as a membrane between building and park, indoor and outdoor, the “parc sportif” and the neighbouring developments. The spine also serves as a “docking station” for the various buildings. It ensures interaction and links people and organisations, thereby stimulating and fueling economic activity on site. 

Triango is a working landscape machine with an integrated natural water system. Not only will water be buffered and filtered on site, it will also be purified for consumption. All in all, the system offers high-quality space for sports and ecology, inviting users to stay and enjoy. Triango is also an example of water retention and climate proofing. The existing typology is used to determine water flow and define gathering spaces. The central water purification machine is located directly on the urban strip, where passersby can experience the green-blue system and all it has to offer.

Project data
Location ​Triangle de Gonesse – Paris, France Google Maps
Assignment ​Design sustainable business park
Size ​15 hectares / 167,000 m² GFA
Design ​2017
Status ​Won competition, In progress
Client ​BoPro
Team ​Darius Reznek, Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Ida Pedersen, Olya Panchovska, Davor Dusanic
In collaboration with ​RAU architects, SeArch, Lateral Thinking Factory, SQA, Urban Crop Solutions, Phileas, Building Integrated Greenhouses, Evergreen
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Tallinn Master Plan 2030

Tallinn, Estonia

Third space: landscape infrastructure as development strategy

In collaboration with Terroir architects, karres+brands developed a master plan for the old city harbor of Tallinn. The Port of Tallinn selected a total of six teams to take part in this ambitious international competition, aiming to reconnect the harbor to the city center and provide a better infrastructural solution for the many different functions that the harbor will hold in the future. The competition provided a unique opportunity to define a completely new type of urban precinct at the gates of Tallinn, to rethink the notion of city harbor and set the benchmark for similar sites in the world.


Across the years, Tallinn has had an ever changing relationship with its harbor and the waters. The rough, industrial edges of the harbor remained closed to the public for a long time and today, heavy infrastructure is dominating the main entrance to Tallinn. The city and its harbor have turned their backs to each other and the desolate space in-between them, leave the many cruise tourists who arrive daily, with a poor first impression of the city. By introducing a new bridge between the two terminals we can break the infrastructural barrier between city and harbour and efficiently solve harbour flows. City and harbour are once again connected and create a significant and iconic entrance to Tallinn: Third Space.

The new connection will be the ultimate synergy between infrastructure, city space and nature, impacting the entire coastline of Tallinn. Rising between the two terminals it will facilitate car loading flows alongside a public elevated park. Underneath, the spaces created will define new entrance plazas to the terminals and protected spaces for functions and tourist flows, providing a whole new entrance experience to the city.

The Third Space meanders through the site from east to west to create a completely new type of Waterfront Park. It will facilitate movement for both leisure and harbor related flows and mediate the relationship between the hard functional harbor and soft city life. A porous membrane of public spaces will reconnect the harbor, open up opportunities for new neighbourhoods and office space and guide pedestrian flows towards the city. It will be an ever-changing mosaic of public spaces and new program, that draw upon the identity of their surroundings.

The green/blue spine does not only link some of the most important cultural and public features of the city, but also reconnects Tallinn and its residents to the water and unlocks the potential for future development around the old city center and harbor. Lush green wetlands will buffer and clean the water. Meandering from east to west the new park will reconnect the entire northern coastline, a rich public coastline, which is today fragmented by the infrastructure of the harbor. It will boost the transformation of the harbor precinct of Tallinn and reveals a unique entrance gateway into Tallinn, where harbor and city grow side by side.

Project data
Location ​Tallinn, Estonia Google Maps
Assignment ​Master Plan Old City Harbor
Size ​54 hectares
Construction ​2017
Status ​Competition entry
Client ​Port of Tallinn
Team ​Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Ida Pedersen, Paola Salviano de Souza, Olya Panchovska, Crispijn van Sas
In collaboration with ​TERROIR, BuroHappold
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Feringa Building

Groningen, Netherlands

Hidden gardens in a new faculty building

On the University Grounds of Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG) the Feringa Building, a new faculty building for the Faculty of Math and Sciences, named after Nobel prize winner prof. dr. B.L. Feringa, will be built. The building will be 62.000m² large en will facilitate college rooms, institutes and labs in which fundamental scientific research will be conducted. The building is organized around four court yards for which Karres en Brands drew the designs.

Because of the location and organization of the building a public walking route from the public transport hub to the campus is situated in the main axis of the building. The four court yards are an integral part of the spatial setup of the building: they’re visible from all college rooms, labs and offices spaces. All users of the building can see the gardens and the people who are in the gardens. However, the entries to the gardens are hidden: how to access them remains unclear. This tension is the starting point for the designs. When one steps into the gardens they appear to have hidden qualities that aren’t visible from the outside.

In the building fundamental research and experiments are conducted in high tech labs. The sharply designed aluminum façade emphasizes the scientific character of the building. The court yards from a stark contrast with the rationality of the building. The gardens offer an alternative to rhetorical and cognitive activities and appeal to various sensory perceptions. They offer a tranquil environment in which one can take a distance to the rationality an intensity of their work or studies. Each garden has its own characteristics: gardens with a hidden view, a hidden experience, and a hidden place each offer a different context and a different perception. The diversity of the gardens contributes to the means for orienting throughout the complex building and offers a calming decor for the working spaces.

The garden with a hidden view has a finely composed composition of plants, a pond, cypresses, foreground and background, depth and light. The composition is visible only from one specific view point. A wooden deck at the pond side offers seating to view this composition.

At first glance the garden with hidden experiences just seems to have an abundance of trees, shrubs and plants. When stepping into the garden one is immersed in the foliage and textures, scents, colors, light and shadows, ruffling leaves, tree canopies above and tiny flowers that grow hidden below the leaves of bigger plants.

The garden with the hidden place consists of a large hill covered in ferns an pine trees. Behind the tip of the hill a cavity is dug out from the hill. The space is barely visible from outside. Narrow steps lead down through the ferns to this hidden space. Her one is surrounded by the abundance of the ferns around and the silhouettes of the pine trees against the sky.

The campus garden is the only garden that does have a clearly visible entrance and also has a more frequent use. Through the glass facades this garden is visible from the surrounding campus and vice versa. With an open grass field and various trees the campus landscape is encompassed into the volume of the building. Terraces for drinks, and special occasions, are designed as a graphic composition of surfaces with fracture lines, folds and cuts. 

Project data
Location ​Groningen, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design four courtyards in a new faculty building
Size ​2.275 m²
Design ​2016
Construction ​2019 – present
Status ​Definitive Design
Client ​University of Groningen
Team ​Bart Brands, Joost de Natris, Sander Vedder, Jeroen Hoogenraad, Thomas Wolfert
In collaboration with ​Ector Hoogstad Architects
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Wilgenwold

Almere, Netherlands

An ecological residential district in a productive landscape

In 2017, karres+brands developed a design for Wilgenwold, a large ecological district in Almere. Wilgenwold is a slowly growing village situated in a functional landscape with forest gardens, natural water purification and urban agriculture. The plan is part of the Oosterwold area development project.


The entire district purifies its own water, making sewage connection unnecessary. First, the waste water is purified naturally using odourless halophyte filters on a designated plot to meet common standards. The water quality is then further improved as it undergoes filtration through the willow forest and down a watercourse running through the district. This process also supplies additional nutrients to the willows, which in turn strengthen the growth and harvest of biomass. The willow branches can be used as biofuel or as raw material for hedges and huts.

Half of the district consists of urban agriculture. People have the option of planting an orchard or vegetable garden, or they can raise livestock. A variety of trees and shrubs in the vicinity provide raw materials and food for both humans and wildlife. These food forests form a rich ecosystem, connecting humans and nature. What’s more, roads and pathways have shared locations and there is a communal plot with space for yoga and other neighbourhood activities.

Developed in collaboration with Sustainer Homes, the architecture is designed to work closely with the landscape context. Sustainer Homes developed three different types of housing, all of which consist of wood modules, well-insulated façades and triple-glazed windows in wood frames. Combined with wall heating, sun panels and integrated ventilation, a Sustainer Home is warm in the winter, cool in the summer and always zero energy. Compared to a traditional steel and concrete home, the CO2-impact of the housing is less than 10 percent. Currently, there are 30 residential units for sale. 

Project data
Location ​Almere, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Urban development plan
Size ​3.5 hectares / 30 residential units
Design ​2017
Construction ​2018
Status ​In preparation
Client ​Spil Games B.V.
Team ​Bart Brands Jasper Nijveldt, Sjoerd Brandsma
In collaboration with ​Sustainer Homes, Van Vulpen Roozenberg Makelaars
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Zwolle Station Area

Zwolle, Netherlands

From a peripheral location to a valuable position

Zwolle Station is the most important rail hub in the northeast Netherlands, with rail lines extending in eight directions. Combined with a 24-stop bus station, Zwolle Station is the heart of the regional public transportation network. Located between Hanzeland and the city centre, the station functions as a pivot point in Zwolle’s spatial-economic development.

 

Led by Karres en Brands, a design team was formed to draft a development perspective. The team consists of municipal designers and traffic experts, complemented by external designers with specific expertise: Movares for underground bike parking and passerelle, Team V for the station’s entrances, including the roof installations, and Poelmans Reesink for segments of the public space. This team worked intensively on the various tasks, frequently discussing and testing plans with the NS, ProRail and the province.

Consisting of a vision component (assignment, vision and strategy) and an execution component (phases and project segments), the development perspective provides a final vision for the station area. The current building projects are cohesively integrated into the main structure of the station square, which was introduced by Karres en Brands. The underground bike parking, bus bridge, bus station, and renovations to the station square, Oosterlaan, Westerlaan and Stationsweg, Hanzelaan and passerelle, as well as the widening of the platforms, will all be carried out in a single, coherent spatial framework. This station area upgrade will serve as an essential catalyst in the area’s development process. The development perspective also includes ambitions and suggestions for urbanization, climate adaptation, energy transition, and new strategies for mobility and parking.

Project data
Location ​Zwolle, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Rail zone master plan
Size ​10 hectares
Design ​2016 – 2017
Construction ​2017 – 2030
Status ​Development perspective has been approved by the City Council
Client ​Municipality of Zwolle
Team ​Bart Brands, Jasper Nijveldt, Crispijn van Sas
In collaboration with ​Team V, NS, ProRail, Movares, Poelmans Reesink
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Community Campus Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

A shared oasis in a transforming office park

One thousand five hundred new apartments for students and starters are going to be built in Amsterdam Southeast near the Holendrecht train station and the AMC. The apartments, designed by OZ architects, are spread out across three buildings, signaling a strategic change in Amsterdam Southeast’s business and office zone. Karres en Brands has designed an informal campus landscape that connects the apartment buildings and provides an attractive shared living environment.

With architectural features extending 60 metres high, the buildings form a semi-enclosed building block with its own inner world. The sheltered space is accessible via four entrances and the informal area is visible from the outside. The landscape’s hilly inclinations give the location its own identity. The gentle inclines provide scale to the space and reconcile the height variations between the existing waterway and a partially underground parking garage. Lawns, grassy vegetation and clustered trees create an attractive and varied landscape in which the new residents can enjoy sports, relaxation, recreation and other activities.Walking and biking paths meander through the landscape and connect the buildings, facilities and future pavilion to the surrounding environment. 

The path network includes biking routes, bridges, walking and wandering trails, and foot paths designed for intensive use. The most important routes are paved in uniquely textured concrete mixed on site. Semi-paved paths form secondary routes and gathering spots in the landscape. Grass paths can be mowed in a different formation each year, constantly creating a new perception of the area. Three new bridges follow the height variations of the undulating pathways and connect them to the parts of the plan on the other side of the water.

The landscape’s facilities are designed with young residents in mind. In addition to open spaces, the area allows for the organisation of personal activities. Barbecues, hammocks, basketball hoops, sport netting and a climbing wall will be installed. The campus landscape invites users to meet, exercise and relax, and the residents have the space to use the landscape as a shared garden.

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design campus’s outdoor landscape
Size ​3.5 hectares
Design ​2016 – 2017
Construction ​2018 - 2019
Status ​Tentative design
Client ​Blauwhoed BV
Team ​Bart Brands, Joost de Natris, Jasper Nijveldt, Joep Meijer, Marlena Rether.
In collaboration with ​OZ Architects
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Birzhevaya Square

Moscow, Russian Federation

A new public space gem at the heart of Moscow

As a part of a larger strategy to turn inner Moscow pedestrian, karres+brands was asked to transform Birzhevaya Square, in collaboration with Strelka KB. The square is located in the historic center of Moscow, a few hundred meters from the historical Red Square, and new Zaryadye Park. What at the end of the 18th century was the center of trade and financial activity is today largely dominated by cars at the main entry point to the Stock Exchange. At the same time the surrounding buildings are rich in detail and colorful eclectic architecture contrasting the current state of the public space. The transformation aims to exploit the high potentials of the site and create a unique public space at the heart of Moscow.


To clearly mark the presence of the square we introduced a carpet-like paving, which helps define and give identity to the place. The pattern is a reinterpretation of classical plaza motifs and is meant to communicate with, and reveal, the rich architectural context. Central to our design is a special water element at the intersection between the plaza border and its urban context. This will become a magnet for public life and be the symbol of the new public space. 

The pavement of the square consists of two shades of granite, one light grey color for the overall area of the square and a darker tone for the stripes. At the same time there is a further rich differentiation through the introduction of rough and smooth surfaces. Together this will underline the graphical impression of a woven wicker, a term that initially gave the area its name - Kitay Gorod. The different surfaces on the square will react with the changing weather conditions, and add another layer to the subtle changes of the public space over the day and the year. 

The fountain has been positioned with important view lines, sun direction and proportions in mind. It is located in the sunniest spot and marks the presence of the square from the adjoining streets. Through the vertical rotation of its core, it not only defines various spaces, but also diverse experience of water. Towards the street it raises to create a protective edge and mark the presence of the square, while towards the plaza and sunny side it defines gentle slopes where people can sit and enjoy the water. The fountain changes through the seasons. In hot summer days a film of water can flow down the slope into the pond. This thin layer can be a refreshing play element in hot days and provides not only a cooling effect but also a soothing sound experience. At special occasions the fountain can be drained and used for events and performances, where the slope will become functional as a sitting tribune. 

Through an intensive design process we have developed a rich and rigorous detailing of the fountain. Its ever-changing edge, has been carefully cut in 200 unique pieces. The base of the fountain is covered in an intricate pattern which intersects the edge, to create a public space element worthy of its architectural context. A new, subtle, symbol for Moscow’s public spaces.

Project data
Location ​Moscow, Russian Federation Google Maps
Assignment ​Design public space and water feature
Size ​0.3 hectares
Design ​2016 – 2017
Construction ​2017 – 2018
Status ​In progress
Client ​Moscow Municipality, Strelka KB
Team ​Bart Brands, Darius Reznek, Sander Vedder, Ida Pedersen, Justyna Chmielewska, Inga Zielonka
In collaboration with ​Strelka KB
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A1 Motorway Apeldoorn-Zuid – Beekbergen

Apeldoorn, Netherlands

Based on the landscape

The Rijkswaterstaat has taken measures to improve accessibility and circulation on the A1 motorway between Apeldoorn-Zuid and the Beekbergen interchange. This involves the constructing weaving lanes between Apeldoorn-Zuid and Beekbergen on the A1, adjusting the Deventer-Arnhem connector in the Beekbergen interchange, and improving the A50 connecting lane between Beekbergen and the De Brink rest area. These measures should ensure that traffic jams on this route are reduced to a minimum by 2020. karres+brands was responsible for landscape integration and also played an advisory role in the design, materialisation and detailing of the new connecting road and existing structural works.

The landscape integration is specifically oriented towards the overall spatial quality of the motorway landscape. Part of the A50 motorway will be widened to make room for the construction of an extra lane on the western side. This construction will preserve the wide green verges in the middle and on the outer sides of the motorway. For through traffic from Deventer to Arnhem, the cloverleaf interchange will be replaced by a new connector with an A50 crossover. This new connector, with its flowing arch, will be integrated into the landscape. Just like the existing structural works, the new works will be neatly joined to the green banks. Furthermore, the connector design will be based on the same principles as those used by Maten for the existing structural works, thus creating a peaceful, cohesive image.

Additionally, weaving lanes will be constructed on the A1 motorway. Due to this construction, the bank on the south side of the A1 will be partially modified. Here, the bank will be constructed at a sharp angle, allowing the view over the IJssel Valley and Veluwe Massif to remain unchanged.

In addition to landscape integration, karres+brands also played a vital role in the project, functioning as a go-to resource for stakeholders (e.g. the Municipality of Apeldoorn, Commission for Spatial Quality) for both the landscape and architectonic designs during the development and realisation phases of the project.

Project data
Location ​Apeldoorn, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Landscape integration adjustments for A1 Apeldoorn-Zuid and the Beekbergen interchange
Size ​6.7 kilometers
Design ​2016
Construction ​2016 – 2018
Status ​In progress
Client ​Heijmans Infra B.V.
Team ​Bart Brands, Jeroen Matthijssen, Marlena Rether
In collaboration with ​Wagemaker
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Stelt Zuid

Nijmegen, Netherlands

The glass village

De Stelt Zuid is part of the Waalsprong’s display window, uniquely positioned near the new dike and within biking distance of Nijmegen city centre. The Municipality of Nijmegen aims to create unique living environments in this “display window”. In urban and landscape design, unique living environments distinguish the area from its surroundings while offering both a typological and architectonic response to today’s housing needs.

However, the limitations imposed by fixed eave-to-ridge heights and height accents pose a challenge to a new housing typology. Combined with the spatial conditions and buildable surface area, the maximum of 280 housing units suggests a traditional parcellation in rows and semi-detached homes with gardens. The parking norms dictated in the vision document reinforce this feeling.

In order to step away from a traditional solution, a larger context is taken into account. Particularly unique to the area is its proximity to the city centre and location behind the new dike along the riverside park. The new dike provides space and a view on the one hand and shelter and protection on the other. Together, these two seemingly opposing qualities make up the DNA of Stelt Zuid. Stelt Zuid will take on two surface levels: a layered cross-section offering an urban living environment with courtyards, miniature squares and alleyways to the top of the dike and above, an open landscape of rooftop gardens, greenhouses and sun rooms where residents can take full advantage of the view: a “true display window”.

The private/public transition at surface level is resolved in an urban fashion through small front gardens, Delft-style stoops and architectural terraces to ensure a human scale. The individual and shared outdoor spaces are transferred to the dike level, creating a second green surface level above the top of the dike. The greenhouses provide pleasant, sheltered living options and also offer a unique possibility to integrate various innovative, sustainable techniques such as energy generation, small-scale food production and water collection.

The future residents will be oriented toward the centre of Nijmegen, which is within a short biking distance. For the daily urban system, emphasis is also placed on bikes and e-bikes. This starting point affords alternative strategies for dealing with cars, particularly parking. More clustered solutions are an obvious choice, allowing for a car-free or low-car district. In the future, these parking clusters will become the district’s energy clusters. Future residents will have as much freedom as possible to create their dream home. There is room to experiment with new housing shapes and innovative building materials. The plan’s binding elements include a sustainable water system and an intricate network of biking and walking paths.

Project data
Location ​Nijmegen, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Study commission
Size ​81 hectares
Design ​2016
Status ​Completed study
Client ​Municipality of Nijmegen
Team ​Bart Brands, Jasper Nijveldt, Darius Reznek, Crispijn van Sas, Zuzana Jančovičová
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Bijlmerdreef

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The performative street

ING plans to create a new head office at the Frankemaheerd location in Amsterdam Zuidoost. ING’s ambitions, however, extend far beyond building a new head office. To develop into a city campus, not only should an investment be made in buildings but also in the development of the public space. ING aims to work together with the Municipality of Amsterdam to improve the quality of an area that has the potential to become a city campus and an integral part of the ArenAPoort region. In particular, the current layout of the Bijlmerdreef and the connection to the Bijlmer ArenA station are in need of a major facelift. At present, the layout is characterised by asphalt, concrete tiles and hardly any green. 

Karres en Brands has been commissioned by the Municipality of Amsterdam and ING to create a sketch plan for Bijlmerdreef as a first exploration of the possibilities for improving the public space. ING and the Municipality share a common goal of transforming the Bijlmerdreef into an attractive, inviting and sustainable street – a street with its own identity. Nevertheless, making a great street takes more than a distinctive, functional design with good material choices.

To cope with the consequences of climate change, the street of the future needs to be equipped differently. It should be able to buffer, infiltrate and maybe even recycle water. These capacities also allow Bijlmerdreef to contribute to the targets set by “Amsterdam Rainproof”. The street of the future will play a role in the city’s metabolism by coupling energy flows, using residual heat, and increasing – maybe even producing – energy. The street of the future is made of recycled and CO2-neutral materials and could even have the potential to leave a negative CO2 footprint. Above all, the street of the future is smart. It is equipped with new ways of facilitating mobility and adapting to smart lighting systems. The street of the future is adaptive, able to react to how we use it.

With this ambition in mind, Karres en Brands takes a systematic approach to implementing energy and climate goals into the public space design. Key to this approach is linking the energy triad (coupling, intelligent use and energy flow productivity) with location qualities and stakeholders. A step-by-step approach examines the ambitions and opportunities for all stakeholders and translates them into achievable goals and concrete solutions (water, green, energy, materials).

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design sustainable and climate adaptive street
Size ​5.1 hectares
Design ​2016 – 2017
Client ​Municipality of Amsterdam, ING Groep N.V.
Team ​Bart Brands, Joost de Natris, Jasper Nijveldt, Darius Reznek, Sander Vedder, Jeroen Hoogenraad, Inga Zielonka
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TU Delft Campus Furniture

Delft, Netherlands

TU Delft Living Campus Furniture

Since 2012, karres+brands has been involved in the redevelopment of the TU Delft university campus. In addition to providing a landscape and urban development vision, a public space Toolbox and a design for the Kluyver Park, karres+brands has designed furniture specifically for the TU Delft.

Public spaces on university campuses have an entire dynamic of their own. These areas are used for studying, working, discussing and taking breaks. Sometimes they are occupied by a single person, other times by large groups of people. The layout of the campus’ public space stimulates informal debate; it allows visions take shape and interactions between those studying and working occur. Such areas require a specific approach to the implementation of street furniture. karres+brands has designed a family of benches, plateau seating and tables. Six to ten metres long, the benches are robust objects that invite one to relax, take a break, work, sun bathe, eat lunch, discuss and of course, study.

The benches are designed for wear and tear. The various types are composed of modular elements of which certain parts are easily interchangeable and simple to maintain. Their large format makes them recognizable and structured in the layout of squares, entrance areas and parks. By combining the objects, one can quickly create areas that serve as meeting points on campus. Through its distinctive design, the furniture contributes to the recognisability and identity of the TU Delft’s public space. Karres en Brands designed the product family and supported the technical engineering, procurement and implementation.

Project data
Location ​Delft, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design campus furniture
Design ​2016
Construction ​2016
Status ​Realised
Client ​Delft University of Technology / FMVG
Team ​Bart Brands, Joost de Natris, Kasper Neeleman, Clemens Carlhuber
In collaboration with ​Rots Maatwerk
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Antwerp South Junction

Antwerp, Belgium

Designing a pastoral motorway landscape

Based on the Green Singel image quality plan that had already been drawn up, karres+brands worked together with Maxwan and Antea Group to create an area analysis and draft design for Antwerp’s South Junction. Located to the south of the highway ring, South Junction, also known as the “spaghetti junction”, connects the R1 with the A12 and the Leien. With its many raised entry and exit ramps, the South Junction currently occupies a large open space on the Antwerp city map. Advancements in safety, regulation, environmental protection and urban development call for a reinterpretation of the South Junction and its spatial integration.

Numerous plans are underway in bordering areas that will influence the traffic junction’s future use. Short- and long-term plans include the implementation of the New South Master Plan, Blue Gate Antwerp, the re-structuring of the Emiel Vloorstraat site, the Kaaien renovation and the start of other small projects.

The area analysis establishes how the South Junction landscape can function as a hinge point where all developments come together and connect. Not only in terms of mobility, but also from a spatial, ecological and landscape perspective, the goal is to situate the various developments in a larger framework that can be adapted as necessary.

The design focuses on the accessibility and usability of the South Junction’s roadside landscape, and, in particular, to the recognisability of the river dune landscape within the Green Singel. Bridges and viaducts branching off the reconstruction serve as crossings for bicycles, pedestrians and wildlife, thus increasing the South Junction’s recreational and ecological connectivity. On the urban side, the New South’s Wadi Park will be connected to Konijnenwei via an iconic park bridge, creating a new continuous park area that can relieve the recreational pressure built up in the city centre. In addition to event and park space, South Junction will also provide a buffer for water collection, particulate matter and noise from the city centre and motorway.

The arid, relief-rich landscape of the river dunes provides a recognizable layout for South Junction. The recognisability is also enhanced by striking accent plants and the design of a new, 21-metre high dune that forms the final piece of the Green Singel. The edges of South Junction are predominantly planted with gorse bushes. In the spring, they burst into bloom with exuberant yellow flowers, “lighting up” the South Junction once a year. The bushes also attract insects such as bees and butterflies. What’s more, by strategically placing follies, benches and vistas in the landscape, South Junction is transformed into a unique destination for hikers and adventurers looking to explore the roadside landscape.

Project data
Location ​Antwerp, Belgium Google Maps
Assignment ​Draft design for landscape, infrastructure and ecology
Size ​80 hectares
Design ​2016 – 2017
Status ​Draft design
Client ​AG VESPA Antwerp
Team ​Sylvia Karres, David Kloet, Jonas Papenborg, Marlena Rether
In collaboration with ​TV MAKH: Maxwan, Antea Group and karres+brands
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Schuytgraaf Riethorst and Leyhorst

Arnhem, Netherlands

Living on a green island

Schuytgraaf is a Vinex-location based on an urban plan by KCAP with approximately 6,100 homes. Schuytgraaf is characterised by building sites that fall within a framework of greenery and water. Because the sites are relatively compact, there is significant space left over for the framework, which incorporates park, nature and recreational functions. The building sites themselves are divided into three types based on the number of houses per hectare. karres+brands created the urban plan for the Riethorst and Leyhorst sites, both of which fall into the lowest housing density category and are laid out according to a villa-district concept.

The sites are located in the ecological zone that makes up the majority of Schuytgraaf’s western border and part of the green framework. In the past, the course of the Rhine river ran through this area. Today, it is characteristically damp and inaccessible to the public. Raised above the ecological zone, the building sites are like islands in their environment. The design focuses heavily on the sites’ edges, which will remain green and development free.

The starting point for the plan is to maximise the green landscape’s character and use as little paving as possible, in contrast to the more urban and stone sites nearby. It was decided during the planning process to give each site its own identity, which is mostly determined by the architecture. A classical theme was chosen for Riethorst and for Leyhorst, a modern one.

Both sites have a striking green character with no through traffic. The quiet streets are lined with grass instead of sidewalks. In addition, each plot has two private parking spaces on site, thus reducing the number of parked cars in the outdoor space. The grassy roadsides expand at some points making room for large trees. The roadside also contains a drainage system of green, shallow ditches that drain rainwater (soil passages). At the end of several streets is a view through the ecological zone. Beech hedges are planted on the lot boundaries along the public property and are maintained by the residents themselves. The municipality maintains the slope-side and top of the hedge running along the site’s outer rim, bordering the ecological zone.

Nevertheless, the most significant contribution to the sites’ green character is the arrangement of individual gardens. The staggered housing blocks and the prescribed positions of garages and driveways offer a variety of garden spaces and ensure a coherent image.

Project data
Location ​Arnhem, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design urban plan, visual quality plan and supervision
Size ​6 hectares
Design ​2006 – 2010
Construction ​2010 – 2016
Status ​Realised
Client ​GEM Schuytgraaf Beheer BV
Team ​Sylvia Karres, Bart Brands, Jeroen Marseille, Paul Portheine
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Science Park Technopolis Bridges

Delft, The Netherlands

Smart bridges highlight the orthogonal landscape

The Science Park Technopolis was developed southeast of Delft as part of the ambitious Science Port Holland. Science Park Technopolis is a business park that focuses on research and development, in close cooperation with the Delft University of Technology, with the goal of becoming one of the most important knowledge hubs in Europe. This means that Technopolis uses the existing facilities and infrastructure between Rotterdam, Rotterdam Airport, TU Delft and Delft. Together with KAAN architects, karres+brands has developed an urban plan for the area.

The set of rules drawn up for the public space design provide a solid, yet simple framework for future developments. The landscape serves as the common spatial foundation that connects the buildings and creates a public space for meeting and interaction. The perception of water, rows of trees, air, reeds and flowering grasslands are accentuated with long straight paths and places of rest. A walk through this Dutch landscape among contemporary buildings offers an inspiring environment for modern businesses and educational institutions.

Within the urban plan, karres+brands designed five pedestrian bridges. The “smartest” of their kind, these bridges are equipped with sensors that measure temperature, acceleration, deformation and load. Some bridges have up to 38 sensors. Using an online platform, the bridge manager can gain direct insight into usage, temperature and load. This information is useful for making decisions on when to spread against ice, perform maintenance or carry out other management tasks.

The bridges are subtly integrated into the beautiful surrounding landscape. In one place, they are striking spatial elements that form a path across the water, but in another, they serve as “seating stairs” parallel to the water or as a hook in the landscape, thus highlighting the intersecting orthogonal paths and water structure. In places where the long straight paths cross the waterways, the bridges are not only understood as transition points, but also as meeting places. The slightly inclining banks “ask” for visibility under the bridge. In order to make the construction as slender as possible and be able to execute the ramp and bridge as a single whole, the bridges are made of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP).

Project data
Location ​Delft, The Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Develop five bridges
Size ​2 x 25m; 3 x 15m
Design ​2015
Construction ​2015 – 2016
Status ​Realised
Client ​Delft University of Technology / FMVG
Team ​Bart Brands, Sander Vedder
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Helsinge Garden City

Helsinge, Denmark

The village of tomorrow: A model for sustainable living in the countryside

In collaboration with EFFEKT, Atkins, CFBO and Trafikplan, Karres en Brands developed a master plan for Garden City – Village of Tomorrow in Helsinge. Today, many young families have a desire to move to the countryside to be closer to nature, fresh air, affordable living and to provide a better environment for their children. However, due to intensive farming and a prioritization of car transportation, the landscape is to a large extent inaccessible to the rural population and the existing building mass is outdated and cannot fulfill the dreams for young families anymore. Many urban residents hesitate to move to the countryside due to a lack of good public transportation, the distance from job opportunities and the lack of alternative housing forms. As the concept of work changes, the supply of jobs and the transportation options will be less important and the urban-rural movement can seriously take off. 

Helsinge Garden City is a proposal for a new way of living in the Danish countryside, in close connection to the surrounding landscapes, with a strong identity and sense of community. The settlement is structured in clusters, with a large amount of common spaces and a high degree of sharing that enables a more sustainable way of living. The master plan has been developed with three main parameters in mind: Environmental, social and economic sustainability, which together will provide new possibilities to live a more healthy self-sufficient life, in close connection to the landscape and in commuting distance from Copenhagen.

The master plan for the new village community is an organic plan, where landscape and settlement blend together. In order to strengthen community life and create a stronger relation to the surrounding landscapes, the settlement is developed as dense living clusters, with a limited amount of private outdoor spaces. The landscape and the in-between spaces are common areas, used for recreational purposes and with production of food integrated in the landscape, such as fruit orchards, permaculture and husbandry. 

To create a neighborhood with social diversity, both regarding income and lifestyles, the clusters differ in form, materiality, sizes and types of ownerships. However, all houses have a private outdoor area and a direct connection to the common landscapes. The clusters will be developed as 25 small villages, with each their own characteristics, inspired from the qualities of their location. As in the old Danish villages, they are all structured around a common, a pond or a square, where the community and public life can unfold and thrive. 

In contrast to the classical homogenous farming landscape, the clusters are surrounded by a diverse and accessible landscape with wet areas, meadows, forest gardens, fruit orchards and husbandry. This productive recreational network, anchors the development in the existing town. The car roads and pathways are developed as a delta that runs out from a main distribution road and branches out through the landscape to connect the housing clusters in the landscape and the rest of the town. 

A food hub, centrally situated in the new area will be the main driver and meeting point for both locals and visitors. The identity of the new neighborhood is crucial to attract new types of residents and together with the transformation of the landscape, the food hub will provide social and food related activities such as markets and gathering days, which will be the key to create a strong identity and an awareness of the new area.

Project data
Location ​Helsinge, Denmark Google Maps
Assignment ​Master plan
Size ​65 hectares
Design ​2016 – present
Status ​Won competition, In progress
Client ​Gribskov Municipality
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Darius Reznek, Davor Dusanic, Crispijn van Sas, Zuzana Jančovičová
In collaboration with ​EFFEKT, Atkins, CBFO, Trafikplan
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Oosterdok

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Isolation as quality for freethinker state

karres+brands was asked by the City of Amsterdam Spatial Planning Department to contribute to the ‘Amsterdam, Free City’ project as part of the 4th Rotterdam International Architecture Biennale. Nine urban design firms, including karres+brands, created plans in the form of architectural models for various prominent locations in the city. karres+brands was assigned the Eastern Islands area.


The Eastern Islands (Oostelijke Eilanden) of Amsterdam have long been a rather isolated district of the city, surrounded by clusters of infrastructure and waterways. The frenetic activity of tourism and large-scale events in other parts of the city centre has largely passed this area by. It contains a number of enclaves, including the old naval base where Somali refugee and former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirshi Ali sought refuge after being subjected to death threats. 

In the design by karres+brands this isolation is further accentuated by restoring waterways and restricting road access, creating a car-free district where the available space can be built upon even more intensively. The remaining public space can be colonised by its inhabitants in an informal manner: when the tyranny of the car is removed, new freedoms are created for the use of space. Just as cloisters and other walled complexes have an ambiguous significance – they are not open, but they can be used to protect people from a hostile outside world – so walled gardens and ‘refuges of free thinking’ within this labyrinthine district function as sanctuaries for artists, writers, politicians and intellectuals who are under threat. In other words, isolation is here utilised as a special quality.

With this plan karres+brands expresses criticism of the increasing levels of regulation and control in a city once renowned for freedom of thought and action. karres+brands shows that urban planning can be the key to restoring freedom in the city.

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Uurban design vision
Size ​60 hectare
Design ​2009
Status ​Vision
Client ​Spatial Planning Department; Municipality of Amsterdam
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Marco Broekman, Algimantas Neniskis, Sascha Seidel, Milda Jusaite, Cristina Colonetti, Marijke Bruinsma
In collaboration with ​Lars Brouwer, Mark Thur, Augusto Meijer (sound composition)
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Weerwater Route

Almere, Netherlands

The water as central icon for the city

The Weerwater is Almere’s central inland lake that borders the city centre to the north and the future Floriade Terrain to the south. It is a unique cross-section of city and countryside, which is still not being used to its fullest potential. Currently, the city has its back to the Weerwater. In many places, walking or biking along the water is impossible and there are hardly any facilities along the shore. This creates a tremendous opportunity to transform the Weerwater area into a place where residents can enjoy sports, recreation and time together, forming a beating heart of Almere. It is a place that links the city centre and surrounding areas, giving Almere its identity.

The assignment is to design a recognisable Weerwater Route (Rondje Weerwater) to support facilities and activities and to create trails for sports and recreation, connectors, bridges, gathering places and furniture. Thus, the “physical” Weerwater Route is intrinsically linked to the area’s revitalisation and programming. The goal is for the Route to provide an identity theme for Almere and surrounding residential areas. The Route’s development and design brings new possibilities to not only transform the city and the urban design of specific areas, but to improve its functional-spatial coherence. The transformation of neighbouring districts and the construction of new ones offers an excellent opportunity to make better use of the Weerwater Route’s central location, using it as a catalyst for urban development.

For the Weerwater to be meaningful, it is important that bordering residential districts join in. The Weerwater Route will connect all the surrounding neighbourhoods and fragmented park areas, while also contributing to a larger network of trails and routes. To do so, the design proposes a circular park around the water with a recreational cycling and walking trail: a seven kilometre Weerwater Route and a shorter route of approximately four kilometres.

A continuous, well-traced path around the lake makes the Weerwater Route more recognisable. Design features include special edge detailing, furnishing and lighting, as well as clearly marked routes for walking, biking, and skating and eye-catching signs to mark the path structure. By creating recognisable locations and providing distance markers for athletes, an active route is formed along the banks. In addition, a series of striking “anchor points” make the water’s edge even more dynamic. These points are placed in strategic locations and are always visible from the previous anchor point, giving visitors and residents the feeling of being literally and figuratively transported. In this way, the Route is a narrative of places and spaces, a festive ribbon along the banks bringing more vibrancy to the Weerwater region.

Naturally, capturing a place’s identity takes more than a design and programming. It also needs to be communicated to the target users. A visual identity for the Route has been developed in collaboration with NorthernLight to reflect the location’s core values. This distinctive, unambiguous design fosters a sense of familiarity and reliability.

Project data
Location ​Almere, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Programmatic vision and design for the Weerwater Route
Size ​450 hectares
Design ​2016
Status ​Preliminary design phase, partially in construction
Client ​Municipality of Almere
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, David Kloet, Zuzana Jančovičová, Joep Meijer
In collaboration with ​NorthernLight, OverMorgen
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City Campus Amsterdam Southeast

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Public space as a catalyst for urban life

The City Campus Amsterdam Southeast came as a result of the new ING Headquarters and demonstrates ING’s ambition to be not only a new office, but also a key collaborator in the transformation of the new centre. Existing buildings, such as the Treasury Center and Financial Plaza are to be renovated and the square in front of the new ING headquarters will be clearly seen as a part of the newly furbished Bijlmerdreef. This area is a public space that is accessible to everyone.


The new headquarters is anything but a classic bank building on a pedestal. It is a modern, transparent and green organisation located in the heart of society. This vision prompted the choice to remove a number of programmes from the building and relocate them to a pavilion in the middle of the new campus. Not only would this make room for restaurants or other amenities in the headquarters, but this pavilion would serve as a source of activities coupling ING and the Amsterdam Port; in other words, a programmable building that can assume different functions.

Of all the public spaces, the Campus Square takes on a unique position in relation to the other public areas on the Southeast campus. It is a green square that combines a park setting with an urban plaza. What’s more, it is a square that invites one to stay and meet. The multifunctional square is designed as an outdoor living room with terraces and plenty of seating, making it suitable for performances, film screenings and spontaneous initiatives. There are no cars on the square. Parking is located in an underground parking garage. Bicycle parking is also resolved indoors.

The campus vision emphasises once again the importance of public space in the transformation process of Amsterdam Southeast into Amsterdam’s second centre: a vibrant, lively, colourful centre that offers a mix of housing, workplaces, amenities and nightlife. The starting point is a public space that invites one to stay, whose design stimulates a cross-breeding of talent, ideas, meetings and insight.

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​City campus vision
Size ​5.1 hectare
Design ​2016
Status ​Completed study
Client ​ING Groep N.V.
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Jasper Nijveldt, Roy Straathof, Simona Serafino
In collaboration with ​Benthem Crouwel Architects
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ING office Cedar

Amsterdam, Netherlands

A green urban garden for Amsterdam Southeast

In 2015, ING Bank decided to move its office within Amsterdam Southeast. The building is being developed with a focus on sustainability, innovation and creativity, and Karres en Brands designed the surrounding landscape. With 2,700 employees in the new office, ING aims to contribute a vibrant and inspiring location to this part of the city.

 

The new building is a first step towards a city campus adjacent to the Amsterdam Southeast Centre. Characteristic of Southeast’s buildings, the lot has a height difference of 3.50 metres between the ground and the overlying main road. The building and landscape design bridges this height difference in a relaxed manner, providing for a good connection between the ground and road levels. New walking routes to other ING offices on the road level activate the Bijlmerdreef’s public space, which was originally intended for motorized traffic only.

The landscape around the building will be furbished as a large urban garden with walking paths, gathering areas and seating opportunities. Lawns and large trees set the scene and give the plot a green appearance. The landscape gradually descends to the ground level, where it adds lush green terraces to the Amsterdam Port shopping area. The landscape facilitates the main entrances of the two buildings and a restaurant pavilion with terraces. The landscape is a lively place that invites employees, customers and other visitors to use the outdoor spaces as an extension of their working and living environment.

As part of this development, Karres en Brands also created an urban planning vision and made the final design for upgrading the adjacent Bijlmerdreef. Both are aimed at developing a city campus where ING buildings and lots play an important role in creating more diversity, urbanity and quality in the public space.

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design public space
Size ​1.9 hectares
Design ​2015 – 2016
Construction ​2018 – 2020
Status ​In progress
Client ​OVG Vastgoed and G&S Vastgoed
Team ​Bart Brands, Joost de Natris, Sander Vedder, Jeroen Hoogenraad, Jeroen Brinkers
In collaboration with ​Benthem Crouwel architects, HofmanDujardin
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Velve Lindenhof

Enschede, Netherlands

Park and square form a new heart in the community

A new multi-purpose area has been created in the centre of the Velve-Lindenhof district, for which karres+brands designed the outdoor space. The existing school building offers comprehensive facilities including two primary schools, a sports hall, space for neighbourhood activities, room for youth health care services, a day care centre, a preschool and after-school care. The building, designed by Onix Architects, borders the Velve Park, a popular neighbourhood park with a monumental row of trees. Between the precious trees, the organic forms of the building fit in beautifully.

The design assumes that the park and square form a whole, thus creating a new system of paths to facilitate connection. In order to strengthen the connection with the park, the school square design integrates as many existing trees as possible and also includes newly planted trees. As requested by the neighbourhood, new functions have also been added to the park, such as a flower garden, an adventure playground and a multi-purpose field. This makes the park more attractive to a wider target group and offers the possibility to use it throughout the entire year.

The park’s layout accounts for the various interests of all users. Among the most intensive users are the two schools, the neighbourhood children and the day care centre; therefore, play areas oriented toward various age groups have been spread across the schoolyard. The design also includes a terrace for the local café, and on the border between the park and school yard, there is a “kiss and ride zone” that is only used at the start and end of the school day. Outside of these hours, this zone is part of the square.

Both the building and outdoor areas are the result of an intensive planning process involving the residents and school children. Throughout the various planning phases, the plan was presented and discussed with user groups of all ages, young and old. The result is a multi-purpose building and a widely used square, which together form the heart of local community.

Project data
Location ​Enschede, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Design park and schoolyard
Size ​1.3 hectare
Design ​2012 – 2013
Construction ​2014 – 2016
Status ​Realised
Client ​Enschede Municipality
Budget ​€ 980,000
Team ​Sylvia Karres, Bart Brands, Lieneke van Campen, Uta Krause, Elke Krausmann
In collaboration with ​Onix Architects
Copyright images ​Peter de Kan, karres+brands
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Lohse Park

Hamburg, Germany

Hafencity in Hamburg is Europe’s largest urban development project. The Lohse Park forms a key component of this project, with the ambition of becoming the new city park of Hamburg. The plan involves the redevelopment of a former station area and shunting yard; a deportation centre during the Second World War. This historically laden location deserves a contemporary role that integrates new functions and radiates a strong identity.


As a Hanseatic city, Hamburg is characterised by a diversity of nationalities and cultures, and by changing contemporary requirements in the use of public space. A robust, recognisable basic structure for the park has therefore been created, resulting in a diverse, lively and colourful park that flexibly caters for individual needs.

The park is divided into two zones, which together cover the full spectrum of activities, from relaxation to sports. The central section is on a lower level, enabling long sightlines and freedom of movement. Its fringes incorporate this aspect, interwoven with a sculptural linear element. Differences in height contribute to the creation of seating elements and small areas for a variety of uses including play areas, football fields, basketball courts, flower borders, a community centre and a kiosk. 

In this way a diverse, active fringe zone is created, tailored to a human scale. Trees planted in parallel lines overlap the fringe area and the low-lying lawns. This additional layer connects the varied dimensions of the park and reinforces its identity. The borders of the park do not form a barrier against its surroundings, but rather are dynamic links that can be adapted to future developments.

A monument for the former Hannoverschen Bahnhof railway station, at the original level of the railway tracks, will be integrated as a niche within the park. This break with its surroundings strengthens the contemplative character of the monument, and forms a connection with the existing documentation centre. The park with its monument has functionality both for local residents and for visitors from elsewhere. The intervention is an eloquent addition to the Hafencity development. The Lohse Park can be seen as an essential element of Hamburg’s public space, and one that is responsive to future developments.

Project data
Location ​Hamburg, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​City park design
Size ​4.7 hectare
Design ​2009
Status ​Competition entry
Client ​HafenCity Hamburg GmbH
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Claire Oude Aarninkhof, Tom Harper, Joost de Natris, Daphne van der Wa
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Zuidas Ravel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

A spatial foundation for the entire district

In the Zuidas Amsterdam development area, the A1 highway, rail tracks and tramlines pass underground through a tunnel. This creates a spatially and programmatically complex junction at the eastern opening of the tunnel - known as the ‘Dock’. Here sports fields are fitted between various development locations. The eastern and western sides of this ‘sport park’ are flanked by the Vivaldi and Ravel development sites. The plans for the northern side of the Dock are at an advanced stage of development, and the Boelegracht canal is being constructed to the south. Even the space beneath the sports fields are being developed with parking garages, to smoothly bridge the 8-metre height difference with the roof of the tunnel.


The various areas all have their own particular dynamic and programming, planning, phasing, development and special requirements. There is a risk that the intervening public spaces could become no more than a collection of incoherent fringe areas. An overarching concept is needed to integrate these diverse and continually changing plans.

karres+brands has drawn up a design to ensure the integration and mutual coherence of these areas. The public spaces between the component locations are given a common identity that will form a spatial foundation for the whole district. A hybrid network of spaces in the form of parks and squares engage with the adjacent areas, bridging differences in height, generating activities and linking the Beatrix Park with the southern suburb of Buitenveldert. The spatial network takes the form of plazas, pathways, squares and parks with differing elevations. The topography offers views over the sports fields, regulates accessibility and privacy, creates connections to shopping streets and integrates parking garages and cultural functions.

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Vision integration sportsfields
Size ​12 hectare
Design ​2008
Status ​Vision
Client ​Amsterdam Southaxis Project Office
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Joost de Natris
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De Bavelse Berg

Breda, Netherlands

Former landfill to be transferomed into regional crowd puller

A former rubbish tip – the Bavelse Berg – and its surrounding area will be transformed into a neighbourhood with a unique combination of leisure and retail functions. The area, which has been closed to the public for many years, will be developed into a public attraction for the region. The plan includes an events complex made up of a hall and an outdoor arena, which is expected to attract two million visitors per year.


Because the Bavelse Berg is an artificial landscape, our view is that a landscape with its own, new value and identity should be created. The function of this landscape is recreation: a leisure landscape with a light-hearted and decorative character.

The design is based on a park structure with open places. Working on a circle principle, the plateau is ‘perforated’, as it were, so that its edges function as paths. Because of the differences in height on the hill the circles will not be literally perceived as circles, but instead form a framework in time. This three-dimensionality means that the landscape will be experienced in a different way: the fields that are created can be used in all kinds of ways, varying over time. The densities and dimensions of the circles relate to the park’s three themes of wellness, sport and entertainment, with the fourth theme – culture – draped like a blanket over the entire hill and functioning as a unifying element. Relationships between the outdoor and the indoor play an important role in the landscape park. In addition, the location places demands upon the type of buildings. Only ultra-light and sustainable units can be placed here. As a general principle the fields will have a stepped structure. Empty fields provide locations for temporary functions, while always remaining integral elements of the park.

Flexibility and phasing are key principles of this development plan, so that the pace of the development as well as the functions within the indoor and outdoor programmes can be managed in detail.

Project data
Location ​Breda, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Urban plan
Size ​65 hectare
Design ​2008 – 2009
Status ​on hold
Client ​Ontwikkelcombinatie Park De Bavelse Berg b.v.
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Lieneke van Campen, Daphne van der Wal, Claire Oude Aarninkhof
In collaboration with ​Vera Yanovshtchinsky Architects
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Reininghaus

Graz, Austria

A new icon for the city

The 54-hectare site of the former Reininghaus brewery, situated in the western area of Graz, will be redeveloped over the next 30 years into a new centre for Graz West. The aim of our design proposal is to transform the area into a cosmopolitan and lively city quarter with housing, living and working space for 12,000 people: this district will become the outstanding new icon of the city of Graz.

The district’s current open character will be maintained by developing half of the area as a park and the other half in high density. The park will be the heart of the area. Around this park a broad strip of houses, cultural centres, businesses, offices, academic institutions and public functions are situated. A network of public spaces connects the park with the edge of the built-up area and the surrounding neighbourhoods, and forms a single coherent fabric within Graz West. A strong impetus for the district is created by the interaction between this built-up strip, the park and existing buildings. What was at the rear becomes the front; the neighbourhood connects itself with the city.

A network of lawns, trees and paths forms the basis of the park. The fields within the park provide space for public and commercial functions, such as a wellness centre, cinemas and sports clubs. These functions will adapt themselves to the needs of the users over time.

The design proposal was created as a commission from the developer in dialogue with Graz City Council. The plan is one component of a series of plan studies by external advisors with diverse fields of expertise, such as architects, traffic specialists, urban planners and planning economists. The plan studies have been presented to local residents, civil servants and council members on a number of occasions. The detail of the programme and master plan for this district of the city will be developed further. These developments will be made on the basis of the study outcomes and responses to presentations held.

Project data
Location ​Graz, Austria Google Maps
Assignment ​Urban design vision
Size ​54 hectare
Design ​2008
Status ​Vision
Client ​Stadtland, Asset One
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Lieneke van Campen, Uta Krause
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Balkonas

Kaunas, Lithuania

A balcony for the city

Balkonas is the title of the urban development plan created by karres+brands for 11 hectares in the heart of the historic centre of the city of Kaunas in Lithuania. The client is the developer – also the owner of the former shoe factory in the plan area – in partnership with the city council. This partnership is in itself quite exceptional in eastern European Lithuania. The aim is ambitious: not only to redevelop the factory site, but to transform the surrounding area, which runs from a busy roundabout and the entrance to the city up to the riverbanks. A connection must be made with the old city, and to the nearby castle.



An intensive preliminary workshop lasting several days, attended by a number of international design teams, resulted in a vision for the area. This was done by means of a number of presentations, discussions, lectures, and work on the plan on location in the old factory. Selected teams (including karres+brands) were then asked to further develop their vision into a more concrete urban development plan. 

The basic principle of Balkonas is to extend the urban structure of the old city up to the river. The city is extended to the waterside, and sometimes even into the water, creating a ‘balcony’ for the city. By relocating the road that now runs alongside the river, a space is created for dwellings near the water, and a pier for pedestrians. In accordance with the desired diversity of the development, there is a mixture of dwellings, shops, offices, parks and cultural facilities. The location has many intrinsic qualities, and by utilising, restoring and strengthening these qualities where necessary the new plan can make a direct connection with the locality, and by doing so, the identity of the area can grow.

Project data
Location ​Kaunas, Lithuania Google Maps
Assignment ​Urban design, redeveloping the fringes of the historic centre
Size ​11 hectare
Design ​2009
Status ​Competition entry
Client ​Baltisches Haus, Kaunas Municipality
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Charlotte Ernst, Algimantas Neniskis, Milda Jusaite
In collaboration with ​Justina Muliuolyte, Tadas Jonauskis
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Elzehagen Zuid

Amsterdam, Netherlands

karres+brands drew up a new framework plan for Elzenhagen South, an area within the master plan for CAN (Centre Amsterdam North) drawn up by Sjoerd Soeters. Because of the financial crisis it needed to be a flexible plan, in which short term initiatives (such as a swimming pool and church) could be accommodated while leaving open the possibilities for long-term investments in housing and offices. 


The polder area is isolated, surrounded by dykes and infrastructure. Because of the many claims on the space in this small area we first analyzed the impact of the programme on the site, and drew up various scenarios to clarify the options for our clients. 

Our final proposal is characterised by a meandering water structure running through the area, connecting the planned canal structure in Elzenhagen North with the ‘dyke zone’ along the North Holland Canal, and giving a beautiful view of the windmill that stands there. A new raised area beside the dyke acts as an intermediate level between the dyke and the polder.

Project data
Location ​Amsterdam, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Urban plan
Size ​25 hectare
Design ​2008 – 2009
Status ​On hold
Client ​Noordwaarts Project Bureau and CZAN Development
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Marco Broekman, Cristina Colonetti, Sascha Seidel, Algimantas Neniskis
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Hart van Zuid Hengelo

Hengelo, Netherlands

Close to the centre of Hengelo former industrial areas are being redeveloped into a new quarter of the city, ‘Hart van Zuid’. In total it is an area of circa 680,000 m² with an urban character, mixed functions and an industrial heritage. Until 2018, diverse residential and commercial environments are to be realized there, with space for living, working, education and recreation. Hart van Zuid is one of the largest post-war urban redevelopment projects.

The historical context and the substantial urban proportions will serve to dictate the plan of the public space. Additionally, its character will be defined by creeks and vegetation. For the design, use will especially be made of ‘ordinary’ materials that are simple, tough and sturdy in detail.

Karres en Brands established the Public Space Masterplan for the whole of Hart van Zuid, and has already outlined and realized several of the areas therein. These include Lansinkveld, Langeler Erve, Industrieplein (‘Industry Square’), the Willem de Clercq Street, the Canal Zone and Stationsplein (‘Station Square’). Various projects are already completed: the Willem de Clercq Street has been rearranged and the first phase of Landsinkveld is finished, as well as Langeler Erve and the temporary layout of Industrieplein. In the framework of the Belvedere Subsidy a design plan has also been proposed for the Vereenigings Park. At the moment, the design for Stationsplein is being generated.

Project data
Location ​Hengelo, Netherlands Google Maps
Assignment ​Masterplan design of public space, design of several sub-plans
Size ​50 hectare
Design ​2006 – present
Construction ​2008 – present
Status ​In progress
Client ​Projectbureau Hart van Zuid
Team ​Sylvia Karres (member of supervision team), Bart Brands, Jeroen Marseille, Tim van de Weerd, Joost de Natris, Daphne van der Wal, Marco Broekman, Onno van Rieven
In collaboration with ​Bierman Henket, IAA architecten, Inbo Amsterdam
Copyright images ​Karres en Brands / Michel Kievits
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Ny Østergade

Roskilde, Denmark

The station is the city and the city is the station

karres+brands together with EFFEKT, WTM, Arup and ALECTIA, made the winning proposal to redevelop the station area of Roskilde. The 3,5 hectares sized competition area between the railway and Ny Østergade is to be developed into a vibrant, attractive and sustainable urban area that can serve as a bridge between the northern and southern part of Roskilde City, and contribute to a vibrant centre. A total of about 100.000 m² of new public, residential and office program will replace the currently parking dominated area. Our proposal explores the potential of infrastructure to become fully integrated in the existing city fabric and act as a driver for vibrant urban life.   


We propose using the new program to completely redefine what the station is. By opening up the public space to the railway we generate together with the new functions a different type of station. From a static building to a vibrant station area! A porous urban fabric which maximizes accessibility and brings together two previously separated parts of the city. Infrastructure can thus become completely integrated in fabric of the city. The station is the city and the city is the station!

Central to our proposal is the gesture of seamlessly connecting two sides of Roskilde with a sunken public square. With maximum openings for daylight the railways become a series of bridges; pergola like constructions above the square. Patches of green animate the crossing making for an open, light, and friendly connection that brings the park and green structures in the south all the way into the city center and further down to the waterfront.

Towards the extremities of the site, a mix of offices, small shops and housing react to the scale and character of the surrounding neighborhoods. Together with strong necklace of public spaces along the Ny Østergade they act as a membrane binding the new and old together in a context grounded development.

The biodiversity and micro-climate became the key elements of landscape strategy for Ny Østergade. Green network stretching from west to east has been reinforced by well integrated rainwater collectors which help to manage water balance of the side and potentially support climate change mitigation in the future.

A low vegetation and shrubbery alongside of the railway track does not only complete the vibrant ecological backbone of Ny Østergade, but as well serve as a noise barrier and help filter and purify polluted air. The series of new public places, as food market, playground and sports fields, are supplemented by small lush parks at far east and west point of Ny Østergade.

Project data
Location ​Roskilde, Denmark Google Maps
Assignment ​Mixed use masterplan, station area
Size ​3.5 hectare/ 100.000 m² GFA
Design ​2015 – 2019
Status ​Won competition, Project in progress
Client ​Roskilde Municipality
Team ​Bart Brands, Sylvia Karres, Darius Reznek, Zuzana Jančovičová, Marlena Rether, Zofia Krzykawska
In collaboration with ​EFFEKT, WTM, Arup, ALECTIA
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