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Location: Zwolle

Client: Z.W.E.M.

Development: E.CP

Phase: Construction completed

In collaboration with municipality, we have made a design to transform the Weeshuispassage, a decayed shopping arcade in the heart of Zwolle.


The Weeshuispassage is an urban development dating from the 1960s, where part of the old city made way for a large, indoor shopping area. The complex was built using a single facade material: washed concrete, partly painted over the years.


The roof had already been removed, but the complex retained its outdated appearance and was struggling with vacancy. In close collaboration with the municipality and the client, EUP design developed a plan to better integrate the building into its immediate surroundings.


Cohesion and synthesis

A key element of the urban development vision was to divide the large volume so that the building could better fit into the structure of the inner city. Together with the municipality, we developed an image quality plan that serves as a starting point for the further development of the area.

The concept of the plan consists of a basic volume with two conservatories—a sturdy, strongly anchored base structure flanked by two open, light buildings. The basic volume has a natural stone plinth and a stucco superstructure. Due to its layered structure with pilasters and horizontal bands, the building blends seamlessly into the city centre. The conservatory volumes feature a design that combines openness and transparency with layering and tactility.

The facade of the western conservatory volume consists of perforated aluminium. The design of the perforation is based on an image of flax flowers, the raw material for linen and an important commodity in the Middle Ages. The image is a reference to the clothing shop housed in this part of the building. In the space behind the aluminium sheets, light fixtures make the facade light up after sunset.

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