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Bypass Landscape Planning and Design

Location: Deventer - Zuthpen, the Netherlands

Type: overall planning, concept design, detail design

Purpose: flood plain, residential

Client: Stedendriehoek, Stuurgroep Fysieke Pijler

             Stedelijk netwerk Stedendriehoek

Partners: Nieuwe Gracht, Projectorganisatie Ruimte voor

                 de Rivier Bureau Bovenrivieren, DHV

                 Management Consultants, RIZA

Time: 1999 - 2004



Failure to consider the relation of the city and their surrounding rivers is a common issue in many modern city developments. We’ve always seeking methods to combine urban development, natural environment, water resource management and landscape architecture.   

In 1993 and 1995, rivers in the Netherlands experienced problems such as over drainage and extremely high water level, caused increasing flood risk and threats for the dikes. Crises like these are expected to occur more frequent in the future as a result of climate change. 


Therefore, government have begun to invest in establish defense system to protect their land from the rising water. Besides simply elevate and reinforce existing dams, VISTA is exploring other effective approaches, including riverbank adjustment to channel excess water into new waterways.


The “Bypass Landscape Research” is an organization work on finding solution to widen the Ijssel River at Deventer and Zutphen, with simultaneous development of new housing area. Tall dams and intensive riverbank caused oppression to Ijssel, thus formed bottleneck restriction the ground surface became quite fragile during flood events. For security reasons, this area needs some strong measures. 


We suggest building two bypasses in the IJssel at Deventer and Zutphen, which are river forks for flood discharge in high water level. The river fork could be either perennial or intermittent. The bypass might have more functions; the core content of our proposal is to make the bypass comprehensive landscape zone, what we called “the waterfront landscape.” We will combine security promotion with nature development, residential uses, economy and tourism. The drive of this development is to build 3,000 housing units in Deventer and Zutphen.

Creating new river forks are the main segment of the entire landscape development, providing larger habitat space and possibility for more diverse housing types, and then assembling multiple building sections for various uses. The natural conditions involve hardwood and softwood forest, swamp, flood plain meadow, riverbank sand dune and diverse water environments. The architectural types are determined by the building-water relations, including urban waterfront area, park buildings, shipyard, residential islands, water castle sand dune houses and floating houses.


We always keep local river condition in mind while we design, and follow the related standards of Ministry of Waterway and Public Works. We’ve draw up a worldwide budget. Although this project requires quite an investment, but the public benefits that it make will meets the ends.