mei 17, 2021 Uncategorized 0

The winning Master Plan reclaims land from one of Rotterdams biggest harbor and turn this into a vibrant urban parkland for the lively and densely populated neighboorhoods near South Maashaven. The park is designed by SWA/Balsley and the park is identified by the City as one of the Big Five park projects, the  conceptual plan provides for much-needed central neighborhood and civic open space in the city’s South  Maashaven district.  

This post-industrial area along the harbor was in the past a home for many immigrant population, people from all over the world worked hard for happiness and succes in this now multi-cultural milieu. An active community  engagement process ensured that the new park design will be responsive to its heterogeneous  stakeholders and provide a catalyst for future development in this fast-growing urban district. 

Inspired by the natural hydrology and tidal vegetation systems of the river, Nelson Mandela Park Master  Plan celebrates the maritime heritage of Rotterdam while harnessing the coast for the benefit of future generations. The holistic, social, cultural and ecological driven approach includes a vision for the Culture  Campus that will give the park a unique identity within Rotterdam’s park system and waterfront. The park  is surrounded by dense urban city districts, with few green spaces for Maashaven residents to meet or  enjoy the harbor. Working in concert with the City and Arup, the SWA/Balsley team envisioned a plan that will serve these adjacent neighborhoods by providing a seven-hectare destination comprised of naturalized shoreline, marsh habitats, multi-purpose lawns, tree groves, sculpted knolls and overlooks  from which to view urban life, the historic Maassilo building and the Harbor beyond. The important park  connection to public transit invites diverse groups from far and wide to gather and engage. 

Strategically, the park integrates with the City’s flood defense levee that runs adjacent to the east side for  a seamless connection to surrounding neighborhoods. Further, this park edge will align with the new  levee promenade along the prominent Pretorialaan commercial boulevard creating a welcoming gateway  for the regular stream of everyday users.

The design team strongly advocated for a large enough size to accommodate more community  programming that emerged from the public outreach. The Master Plan features multiple flexible lawn  areas for community events, all-age play grounds in a shaded tree grove, a cultural plaza, overlooks, and  marsh walk. The water’s edge was conceived as a dynamic experience and features innovative tidal  pools, wetland habitats, and integrates a local water taxi station and pavilion. The design team has  leveraged topographic shifts for flood protection into tidal habitat shelves, walkways, and revealing views  that are integral to this unique experience.


SWA/Balsley creates inspiring, provocative, resilient public spaces that enhance communities and enrich people’s lives. The places we create reflect our deep commitment to design excellence, and our belief that landscape architecture plays an instrumental role in forging a culture that connects people with places…and with each other. Our landscape architects, planners and urban designers hail from two internationally renowned firms—SWA Group and Thomas Balsley Associates, which joined together in 2016 to practice from New York City. SWA/Balsley’s projects range from large-scale master plans to small urban spaces; from urban waterfronts and major parks to institutional, residential, and corporate landscapes. Learn more at https://www.swabalsley.com/