Architects OMA have proposed flower auction houses, cable cars and an outdoor theatre as part of Central Holland’s bid to host the World Horticultural Expo in 2022.
The six-month-long festival would occupy a 60 hectare site in the city of Zoetermeer and comprise a loop of zones connected by pathways and rivers, making them accessible to both bicycles and boats.
Each zone would be dedicated to a different aspect of the horticultural industry, including technology, innovation, distribution, culture and leisure, and would link up with existing greenhouses and a whitewater sports complex.
OMA designs 2022 Floriade masterplan for Holland Central
As part of a team including the province of South Holland, eight local municipalities, and ARCADIS, OMA has designed a 60-hectare masterplan proposal for Floriade – the biggest horticultural expo in Europe – in 2022. Held every ten years since 1960, and attracting an average of 2 million visitors from around the world, 4 different cities across the Netherlands are competing to host the next Floriade.
OMA is representing Holland Central, with a site in the middle of the Randstad, in Zoetermeer, with 5 million inhabitants in a 50km radius. OMA has designed a circular plan that connects a variety of existing conditions on the site, all presently related to horticulture: high-tech green houses, a future agro-innovation campus, an Olympic-grade leisure park and traditional Dutch landscape near the source of the river Rotte, which visitors can explore by bike or by boat. The design focuses the fair’s activities into five concentrated zones covering essential aspects of modern horticulture: technology, innovation, the global market, leisure, and culture. The park includes a 2,500-seat open-air theatre, a Land Art zone, global village, and a cable-car connection spanning across the ring.
The winning bid will be announced at the end of the current Floriade, now taking place in Venlo, in October.
MVRDV has produced a plan for Almere, a candidate city for the Netherland's Horticultural Expo, 'Floriade 2022,' taking place every ten years and open this year in Venlo. The expo's next location will be selected in October. This proposal offers a long-term solution by extending the existing urban center towards a waterfront site.
The vibrant neighborhood incorporates a giant plant library leading to a 300% greener exhibition than the current standard, combining trees and vegetation to carve programmatic areas with innovative and ecological surprises.
Positioned along the lake, the presence of a university, hotel, marina, offices and homes will generate the urban density while supporting the nearby and growing Amsterdam metropolitan area. Nearly 60,000 new homes will be constructed in Almere alone and the city hopes to improve the quality of life for its citizens despite the rising development. A tapestry of gardens, the 45 hectare peninsula will be divided into blocks and contain an alphabetical plant library amongst the buildings.
Aerial view of the city
Stacked botanical gardens feature ecosystems of diverse climates and classroom spaces. Visitors may visit the Jasmine hotel or swim in a lilly pond as well as live amidst orchards and bamboo parks. Food and energy will be produced within the district to enrich the daily activity of residents.
The library would catalog the world’s flora, only instead of housing books, it’d be a grid of real live gardens, possibly arranged alphabetically and stretched over new landfill that’s slightly larger than Vatican City. The proposal represents the city’s official bid for the Floriade 2022 Expo--a sort of six-month-long horticultural equivalent of the Olympic Games--and also features a university, a hotel, a marina, offices, housing, an open-air theater, camping sites, and other facilities. Here’s more, per the press materials:
Almere Floriade will be developed as a tapestry of gardens on a 45ha square shaped peninsula. Each block will be devoted to different plants, a plant library with perhaps an alphabetical order. The blocks are also devoted to program, from pavilions to homes, offices and even a university which will be organised as a stacked botanical garden, a vertical eco-system in which each class room will have a different climate to grow certain plants. Visitors will be able to stay in a jasmine hotel, swim in a lily pond and dine in a rosary. The city will offer homes in orchards, offices with planted interiors and bamboo parks. The Expo and new city centre will be a place that produces food and energy, a green urban district which shows in great detail how plants enrich every aspect of daily life.
If it sounds like some kind of elaborate ecotopia, you’re exactly right. Created in the 1970s to offset population overgrowth in nearby Amsterdam, Almere is on the verge of another development boom; some 60,000 new houses and 100,000 offices are expected to transform Almere into the fifth largest city in the Netherlands by 2030. MVRDV, which also designed Almere’s master plan, envisions Floriade 2022: Expo as the ultimate urban amenity. In the press release, the architects call it “an exemplary green city”; “a lasting green Cité Idéale”; and a paragon of “innovation and ecology.” Says MVRDV principal Winy Maas:
We dream of making green cities. City that is literally green as well as ecological. A city that produces food and energy, cleans its own water, recycles waste and holds a great biodiversity. A city which might even be autarkic: A symbiotic world of people, plants and animals. Can this symbiosis between city and countryside offer essential argumentation to the global concerns regarding of urbanisation and consumption? Can we realise in the next ten years an exemplary city which realises this synthesis? And could this city be the Floriade 2022?
Maas might be overselling it a bit. (An "essential augmentation" of "global concerns regarding… urbanization and consumption" in just 10 years? C’mon.) And even if Almere wins the bid with MVRDV’s lofty plans, you have to wonder how much of them will make it past City Hall, or whoever wields the rubber stamp. But if the architects are able to accomplish half of what they’ve spelled out here, it’ll no doubt make life better--and greener--for folks in those 60,000 new homes.