Normaalschool in Lier wins the “Most inspiring city centre project of 2024” in the category of “Building and Activity”! Organised by Platform Binnenstadsmanagement, the award celebrates projects that raise the bar for the development of city centres.

The Normaalschool in Lier, an urban school complex closed in 2012, is now being redeveloped and transformed into a vibrant public inner area with new residential and work forms, with a goal of creating a new learning network.

 
 

We are happy to share that our entry for the city of Utrecht is winner of the Dutch edition of the European Green Cities Award!
A win made all the more wonderful by the second place for Hengelo, based on our design of the redevelopment of the city centre.

Following our continuous and productive collaboration with both municipalities, greenery and water are returning to the city centres.

In recent decades, Utrecht has made a structural choice to reduce motorised traffic and transform the freed-up space into parks and places for recreation, further improving the quality of life. Our selected projects Catharijnesingel, Oosterspoorbaan Park and Croeselaan embody that development. Catharijnesingel was spotlighted in this respect: here we brought nature into the heart of the city, forming a green link between the old and the new city.

Hengelo has celebrated delivery of the renewed Marktplein, following transformation of several other central streets. The introduction of diverse planting and water management solutions is shaping the public space where people now love to spend time.

We are grateful for this acknowledgement and cannot wait to continue our work on attractive green public spaces that improve slow mobility routes and create resilient structures adapting urban environments to climate change!

 
 

The Former Deportation Station Bobigny has been nominated for the 2023 edition of France’s prestigious ‘Équerre d’argent’ architecture prize. The project is one of five selected contenders within the // public spaces and landscape // category.
The memorial has been inaugurated this year, 80 years after the first deportation convoy left the station of Bobigny for the camps.

The award winners will be announced on November 20th in Paris.

 
 

The refurbishment of the city centre of Hengelo is still underway, but has already won various awards, including the Most Inspiring Inner City Project of the Netherlands.

No less than 18 different municipalities took part in the election organised by Platform Binnenstadsmanagement in recent months. Together with Veenendaal, Hengelo was chosen as the winner. During the Day for the City Centre 2023, Hengelo received the prize for the theme of ‘cooperation’ in its own city.

The jury appreciates the guts the municipality of Hengelo has shown to admit previous mistakes in the development of the city’s layout and to open up the entire process. Everyone, including residents, young people, entrepreneurs and schools, was allowed to help build a new design for the Market Square. The design has been completely adapted to a square full of greenery, trees and meeting places. The city centre of Hengelo succeeded in converting previous negative noises into an active participation process in which everyone could provide their input.

The jury is also very positive about the decisive approach of the municipality in this project. The process of redesigning the Marktplein is a source of inspiration for every city centre in the Netherlands.

 
 

The jury has declared our project, park and bank of Catharijnesingel south, the winner of the Rietveld Prize 2022. This means that it has been rated as the best project in the field of architecture and urban planning in Utrecht over the past two years.

The jury values the project as an “exemplary project that fits in with the softening and slowing down of the city centre, in which stone and traffic make way for water, biodiversity and accommodation”.

The project was chosen from a pre-selection of five projects. It was the only landscape-scale project from the selection and only the second project of this type to win the award since its introduction more than 30 years ago.

 
 

We are proud to announce that the reconstruction of Catharijnesingel for which we have made the design has won this year’s award. The International Jury considers the reconstruction of the canal, together with the recovery of a linear park running along its banks, a model intervention for the survival of our cities in the new Climate Era.

For Catharijnesingel we combined the historic atmosphere of the canal and park surrounding the historic city of Utrecht with a forward-thinking vision for the city of Utrecht, boosting the mobility transition and social and ecological inclusivity as well.

We are grateful for this recognition and are proud to create places that transform and bring new meaning to our cities.

 
 

During the annual presentation of the Arc Awards, organised by magazine ‘De Architect’, Little Zennepark was declared winner in the Urban Planning category.

According to the jury, the winner ‘Het Kleine Zennepark’ in Brussels, by OKRA and Brut, searches to achieve a transformation of a city district in Brussels. The surgical approach to design results in a promenade that adds air and space in a densely built-up area. For example, the plan should address the social cohesion of the area by offering different species meeting places, including schools and cultural centres.

In addition to Kleine Zennepark, De Tuunen Texel by FARO and Landscape Architects for SALE as well as Winkelsteeg by PosadMaxwan were nominated for the prize from a long list of approximately 20 projects.

 
 

We’re excited to share that IFLA AAPME International Awards officially announced that OKRA, together with MLA+ and Shenzhen IBR, has won the Outstanding Award in the category Analysis & Masterplanning for our landscape and urban design project in the coastal area of Shenshan Special Cooperation Zone in Shenzhen, China.

In this category, a total of 12 projects excelled in promoting climate change adaptation, responsible practice, and the pursuit of joint efforts to address issues of resilience building. There were 280 international entries.

Our winning entry is the project Nature as Leverage to Lead Coastal Urban Development in Shenshan Special Cooperation Zone. We established a design framework for mountain, sea, and land-development that respects the Chinese historical water strategy while combining it with the modern Dutch approach. The result is a future-proof coastal defence that integrates engineering and landscape design providing a vibrant sequence of protected spaces along this beautiful 12 kilometres long coast.

Our seawater and freshwater strategies make space for buffer areas that put protection and ecology first, restoring existing ecosystems and shaping a ‘sponge’ development that boosts the quality and resiliency of nature and urban spaces: an elastic landscape!

The jury praises the project for its ‘highly detailed consideration of climate resilience concepts that recognise the complex conditions of the site and in response, strives to mitigate, integrate and adapt to the landscape through its design framework’.

 
 

OKRA has once again won an international award for its landscape and urban design project for the coastal area of Shenshan Special Cooperation Zone in Shenzhen, China. This masterplan, made in cooperation with MLA+ and Shenzhen IBR, has been awarded the Grand Award by the Greater Bay Area Urban Design Awards 2020 in the category Plan/Concept.

This award is initiated by the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design with the support of member institutes from the Greater Bay Area Urban Designer Alliance. It is sponsored by Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Our winning entry is the project Nature as Leverage to Lead Coastal Urban Development in Shenshan Special Cooperation Zone. We established a design framework for mountain, sea, and land-development that respects the Chinese historical water strategy while combining it with the modern Dutch approach. The result is a future-proof coastal defence that integrates engineering and landscape design providing a vibrant sequence of protected spaces along this beautiful 12-kilometres long coast.

Our seawater and freshwater strategies make space for buffer areas that put protection and ecology first, restoring existing ecosystems and shaping a ‘sponge’ development that boosts the quality and resiliency of nature and urban spaces: an elastic landscape!

With this project OKRA has previously won the IFLA Outstanding Award in the category ‘Analysis & Master planning’.

 
 

OKRA has won the Water Resilient Cities Award 2019 for ‘The best sustainable drainage system for rainwater in an urban environment’. The award was presented by WRC project leader John Green in Peterborough to Rani Izhar of OKRA during the network meeting of the Interreg project Water Resilient Cities.

OKRA received the prize for the redesign of the city centre of Nijverdal. OKRA was commissioned to transform the city centre into an attractive and lively place that is friendly and welcoming with sufficient space for pedestrians. Sustainable technical solutions for water management, water collection and drainage make the area climate adaptive, resistant to recent climate developments with periods of extreme precipitation and periods of severe drought and heat in summer. Rainwater is stored under the pavement to provide the trees with sufficient water and to feed a water playground with fountains. The design came about in close cooperation with residents and entrepreneurs, the municipality of Hellendoorn and Dusseldorp Groep.