• Industrial Heritage
  • Urban Design
Bern | Switzerland

The transformation of a former gasworks site into an open space for people who want to live, do business, experiment, play sports and relax.

Client: Bern City
Year: 2021
Status: Competition (prize winner)
Type: Urban plan, landscape plan
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Surface area: 79.402 m2
Program: Public space, residential, sports, catering, offices, cultural facilities
Urban planning: ECHO Urban Design, Mulder Zonderland
Landscape design: ECHO Urban Design
Architecture: Mulder Zonderland

The interplay of nature, industrial level and urban culture

The design was inspired by the history of organic growth, planning and the building/shapes of the old gasworks factory. The area features a spectacular contrast between robust buildings and a lush, natural river biotope. The design aimed to restore the connection between the inner city and the river crossings of the Aare. This shapes the area into a recognisable, characteristic and unique entity.

Social diversity, safety and inclusiveness

The design typifies the living environments with their own distinctive styles, modes of social interaction and various possibilities for appropriating the outdoor space. This design stimulates social interaction, attracts diverse target groups and promotes social diversity, safety and inclusiveness. We unlock opportunities for entrepreneurship, initiatives an innovative industry.

Urban living and facilities

This is where a modern city dweller resides and lives with a view of the entire area and within walking distance of an integral mobility hub, urban amenities and an attractive cultural, creative production world, where there is plenty to do in terms of sport, entertainment, recreation and culture.

Creativity, creating and experimenting

This area has an open and public character. Local people as well as people form outside the area feel welcome here. An exciting array of buildings, sports, restaurants, studios, a bio-market, squares and streets provides energy and creativity.

Living, learning and sports

The plan is based on car-free and noise-free living with a safe inner area, high-level residential quality and a child-friendly and green layout. Here, families, the elderly, and young people live on the edge of the streets, and the layout of the outdoor space encourages them to live outside and use the outdoor space collectively.

Leisure and culture

This central meeting place attracts on a city scale and is enriched with a cinema, youth hostel, a cultural centre and art studio space. The outdoor space can be used flexibly for events, markets, gatherings, etc. It serves as the driving force of the area.

Ecological living, nature and relaxation

The exclusive (collective) residential environment is closely linked to nature. Escaping the city while relaxing in nature. The collective spaces and large natural playground offers space for residents, passers-by, children and the elderly.

The original landscape with its ponds and floodplains served as an inspiration to strengthen the identity and ecological quality. A varied landscape with open and dense areas; optimised for small mammals and a broad spectrum of birds and amphibians.


Lieke will be happy to tell you about it.