Redevelopment historic IJsselkade Zutphen

Redevelopment historic IJsselkade Zutphen, from parking lot into riverside promenade with flood protection.

That historic protection system can go hand in hand with renewal, is a fact demonstrated by the redevelopment of the IJsselkade in Zutphen. Historical structures were important inspiration elements for the redesign of the quay. The fortifications were transformed in such a way, so as to be used for flood risk management, while simultaneously to improve the living quality of the area.

In phase 1 (completed in 2018), the new flood protection wall was designed with a slightly inclined ending and finished with bricks. In this way, a connection with the historic walls of the fortified town was achieved. Further, the grass plateaus refer to the traces of the past fortifications. The lower part of the quay was transformed into a car-free zone, offered to both cyclists and pedestrians. For that reason a new bicycle ramp was created in affiliation with the rampart. Along the new cycling route a line of elm trees was planted to emphasize the direction of the monumental city front. The design of the benches along the grass plateaus were inspired by the classical shutters of the historic houses along the IJsselkade. The Berkelstuw (small dam) which is included in the flood defense system of the site, became noticeable with the design of new stairs and bridges. The floodgate in the flood protection wall – was widened towards the city center. Thus, an open view from the city to the IJssel and vice versa was accomplished. As a catering kiosk was blocking this vista from the city center to the Ijssel, the kiosk was demolished and relocated. The war monument was relocated as well, to the place where the fusillade actually took place, in a tight relation to the bereaved.

In phase 2 (starting in 2020), a solution for widening the river is proposed through the partially excavation of the quayside and its transformation into stair-steps leading to the water. These actions will create space for the river and make the surrounding area a strong corner point (“bastion”), which refers to the past of Zutphen as a fortified town. The stair-steps into the water and the renewed riverfront will transform the river IJssel into a livable space both for the residents and the visitors of Zutphen.

Redevelopment IJsselkade Zutphen

Design office: HOSPER landscape architecture & urban design / Design of furniture: Studio Carmela Bogman, Lightdesign: Studio DL, Technical elaboration: Roelofs and Nepocon
Client: municipality Zutphen, Gelderland, Netherlands
Area: 1,5 ha
Year of construction: 2017 – 2018
Building contractor: combination NTP/De Klerk
Photos: Pieter Kers

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at