A former railway track, reinterpreted as a green connector for pedestrians and cyclists between the city centre and the green estates of Rhijnauwen and Amelisweerd: Oosterspoorbaan park is a surprising enrichment for the local residents in Utrecht. Once a monolithic barrier that separated different neighbourhoods, the Oosterspoorbaan has now opened to residents, with various attractive places to stay and facilities along its entire length.

 
 
 

In Bobigny, the landscape has been given a role as a narrator and curator of the history of the place. The complex layered history is depicted in a layered way similarly to what one would find in a memorial park and thus takes the visitor by the hand into the past.

Between 1943 and summer of 1944, around 22.500 men, women and children were deported from the Bobigny station, making this site one of the most important sites of the deportation of French Jews during the second world war. After the war, the site was turned into a steel scrap yard and stayed in use until the mid 2000’s. Paradoxically, the industrial activity is what has protected the site for decades and allowed it to survive major urban transformations and evolutions. The Bobigny station is one of the only deportation places in France that was preserved after the second world war.

 
 

In the seaside resort of Cadzand-Bad, we integrated the need for coastal reinforcement, which is a part of the National programme to turn the coast into a super-storm proof zone, by upgrading the public space. In doing so, we realised a high-quality and attractive new élan for the entire village, with a diversity of atmospheres in which ecology and coastal defences are an integral aspect of the design. The renewed Cadzand-Bad is safe and attractive year-round for residents and tourists alike and is recognisably linked to its surroundings. The success of the interventions forms a solid, widely supported basis for the ground rules of future developments.

 
 
 

Fontys Hogescholen’s Rachelsmolen campus in Eindhoven is undergoing a remarkable transformation, evolving from a secluded island in the city to a captivating and inspiring educational environment.

The vision is to create a campus that revolves around human interaction, fostering innovation, experimentation, and entrepreneurial spirit through vibrant cross-pollination. In collaboration with Barcode Architects and Hollandse Nieuwe interior architects, OKRA landscape architects has undertaken the design of this ambitious new campus.

 
 

The spirit of a vanished historic riverbed is being brought back into the heart of the Brussels Heyvaert district. The neighbourhood has a strong need for high-quality public space to strengthen its social cohesion. As a new green vein, the Kleine Zennepark will connect a series of urban rooms. Here, a unique integral but phased approach has been chosen.

 
 
 

Binnenrotte is Rotterdam’s largest open space. Mainly used as a market space, it consisted of a stretch of hardscape, 800 metres long. With the transformation of Laurenskwartier into a mixed-use zone, new consideration was required to integrate the large Binnenrotte area into the adjacent quarter. We created a design that took the opportunities that the site provided and enriched them to give Binnenrotte the much-required quality of stay throughout the day.

 
 
 

Future-proof design of Assen city centre

Commissioned by the municipality of Assen, we developed a plan for the future layout of the public space for the inner city. In a guiding document, the municipality’s ambitions for an attractive, inclusive, and climate-proof city centre were developed into attractive, elaborate, and smart design principles. For the first five shopping streets, these principles have been translated into concrete design plans that will be implemented in the upcoming years.

 
 
 

Mechelen, with its rich history, is a city where the echoes of the past resonate throughout the historic inner city. However, by the late 20th century, the area’s charm and identity had been obscured by a series of pragmatic decisions that eroded its character and liveability. An initiative to reintroduce water into the city centre led to a design competition. We were selected as the winner, still a fledgling Dutch design firm at the time. This marked the beginning of a lengthy sequence of collaborations where Mechelen’s aspirations and our expertise complemented each other seamlessly.

 
 
 

Marina Park in Cork embodies many facets of the city. It fulfils the long-standing promise of creating a regional park to the east of the city. Like many former industrial cities, Cork has significant decommissioned industrial areas along the river, adjacent to its city centre. Today, these areas present an opportunity for residential development and the redevelopment of public spaces. Marina Park is a key component in Cork’s ambition to develop its docklands industrial area into a lively and integrated neighbourhood for the city.

 
 
 

As a key part of a larger plan to improve the most vulnerable areas of the Dutch coastal defence, Katwijk’s coast proved to be a particular challenge: how to add safety, without sacrificing the key qualities of the town, but rather add more quality instead? We researched the relationship between the town and the beach, and used the reinforcement to create a dune landscape that feels completely natural while, in reality, it houses a hidden parking garage behind a dyke.

 

Seaside resort

For the past decade, Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, has undertaken a transformative endeavour to fortify vulnerable sections of the Dutch coastline. The project goes beyond merely constructing coastal defences; it delves into invigorating Katwijk as a tourist destination while bolstering the local seaside economy. Throughout this initiative, preserving the town’s existing charm remained our main concern, ensuring that its identity is not only retained but also enhanced.

Creator of meaningful places

The relation between town and beach

In an interactive planning process, we defined the most essential values of Katwijk; namely the relationship between the village and the beach. The chosen dyke-in-dune coastal defences, a stone-lined embankment covered and reinforced by dunes, supported by sufficient low dunes, would be built with minimal disruption between town and beach. With this construction, the city of Katwijk could also realise an underground parking garage behind the dyke.

 
 

“The highlight of the design is a broad ‘dune transition’ that acts as a square space.”

Martin Knuijt

partner at OKRA

 

Natural dune landscape

The dyke and garage are completely hidden from view by natural-looking dunes, a landscape that will change over time when natural processes take over. An extensive network of paths has been built to connect the village and beach, offering views of the sea. The highlight of the design is a broad dune transition that serves as a welcome space and event plaza, forming a vibrant heart for the Katwijk coast.

Creator of meaningful places
 
 
 

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