WärtZ: Zwolle's Transformative Innovation Haven

AM, collaborating with MVRDV, Orange Architects, and LOLA Landscape Architects, embarks on a groundbreaking transformation of
WärtZImage Source: MVRDV


AM, collaborating with MVRDV, Orange Architects, and LOLA Landscape Architects, embarks on a groundbreaking transformation of Zwolle's former business park near the train station. WärtZ, an innovation district, will house 850 diverse homes, educational facilities, workspaces, and social amenities. The visionary plan centers around repurposing the iconic Wärtsilä hall, promoting sustainability, circularity, and urban rewilding, setting a new paradigm for a vibrant, sustainable urban center.


Zwolle's landscape is poised for a remarkable metamorphosis as AM, in partnership with MVRDV, Orange Architects, and LOLA Landscape Architects, ventures into reshaping the former business park adjacent to the train station. The transformative initiative aims to craft 'WärtZ,' an innovation district poised to redefine urban living.

WärtZ is envisioned as a vibrant hub accommodating around 850 homes suitable for all age groups, with 30% dedicated to social housing. In addition to housing, the district will host educational institutions, creative workspaces, eateries, and community facilities. Central to this vision is the iconic Wärtsilä hall, transforming into the heart of a bustling railway park.

The plan involves a comprehensive spatial and programmatic overhaul, aligning with the municipality's ambitious objectives in energy, circularity, mobility, and climate resilience. Recognized as one of the seventeen NOVEX areas for substantial housing development by the government, the site sets a new precedent for sustainable urban expansion.

WärtZ, derived from 'Wild, Art, Raw, Tech, and Zwols,' encapsulates the essence of this innovative district, paying homage to the existing Wärtsilä hall renowned for its undulating roof. MVRDV's transformation design focuses on reinventing the hall, housing innovative startups, educational institutions, and creative enterprises. The hall serves as a platform for events and will be adorned with a spectacular wooden apartment building, offering panoramic views.

Adding to the allure, a sculpture by Marte Röling, the 'Big Fat Golden Dove of Peace,' graces the hall's roof, symbolizing unity. Embracing sustainability, MVRDV designs three mixed-use buildings while Orange Architects' Lurelui zone brings a unique touch to the district's fabric.

Jacob van Rijs, MVRDV's founding partner, highlights the project's sustainable repurposing, drawing from their expertise in transforming spaces. Doeschka Bos, AM's development manager, envisages WärtZ as an unconventional extension of the historic city center, fostering inclusivity and innovation.

LOLA Landscape Architects' design embodies 'urban rewilding,' converting asphalt into nature-rich spaces. WärtZ prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport, aligning with Zwolle's ambition for a greener inner-city station area. The phased development, spanning 9.5 hectares, aims to commence its first phase in 2025, redefining Zwolle's urban landscape.


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