LILA 2022 Winner in Hospitality

The Unbound by

2022 Hospitality / Netherlands / Built in 2020 /

No site is ‘tabula rasa’, but sometimes, sites demand more creation than translation. This is the case with The Unbound, an imaginative design for a tourist resort based on being with the landscape, observing nature, and participating in food production. Despite the non-site-specific design language that unnecessarily neglects this area’s history as a characteristic dutch polder, the design for this high-end tourist resort adds to the bigger picture of a new, more natural green recreational wedge in the city of Amsterdam that brings tourists and inhabitants closer to the landscape and nature. Resort guests are invited to take part in the outside world, by which The Unbound gives new meaning to recreation in a city like Amsterdam.

Complex pathways together with strong low vegetation allow for the space to feel mysterious, a space that needs to be explored. Once the trees grow, another layer of complexity will reveal itself and add additional dynamics to the site.

- from the award statements

An Animated landscape for a luscious city escape in the ‘Tuinen van West’

Green Expanse –
After much debate Amsterdam municipality decided in 2007 that four polders – wedged in between Amsterdam, the Haarlemmermeer ring canal, Halfweg and the Haarlemmerweg road – were to be developed into a unique, multifunctional urban agriculture and recreation area: Tuinen van West. The ecological values of this big green expanse that encroaches on the city are aimed to strengthen biodiversity & climate change adaptation for a more resilient Amsterdam and a welcoming natural place of retreat for its inhabitants. 

Transforming a wasteland – Within the Tuinen van West, between the wild gardens and organic vegetable and fruit fields, a former wasteland has been transformed into a sustainable estate: The Unbound. A natural wilderness, programmed with wellness facilities, giving room to luxurious lodges and an exclusive hotel. A space that allows you to unwind and reload. Connect with nature in close proximity to the city.

Landscape – Felixx transformed the existing undeveloped cultural landscape into a lush natural environment by diversifying the topography: a pond, wetlands and hills. This generated conditions for diverse types of vegetation, organically structuring the area in different rooms. Space was left for nature to take its course: hills are overgrown with wildflowers, between the cabins a lush plant growth develops. The (re)introduction of a wide variety of native plants and trees strengthens the biodiversity of the area and attracts wildlife, birds and insects. The adventurous location is equipped for diverse uses, entertaining guests and visitors.

Layout – A large tree marks the entrance leading to the hotel, located next to a small lake. Sauna and canoeing facilities are located in the water, separated by a bridge that connects the hotel to the lodge forest. Here, several small cottages are centered around a community building and offer optimal privacy on the individual terraces. The park continues into the wellness forest, where the amphitheater and an elevated yoga field can be found.

A series of paths connects the entire area and leads to the event field. This intimate and private location is suitable for weddings or temporary festivals. The adjacent playground is an exciting place full of play elements for younger visitors. The urban agriculture vegetable garden included within the plot provides the hotel restaurant with healthy and organic food. 

Collaboration – In a joint statement, Marnix Vink of Felixx Landscape Architects and Planners; Jan van Erven Dorens of Dorens Architects, and Renee Appelo, from Studio Appelo said, “The close collaboration between all involved parties ensured that every detail of the boutique hotel and natural garden has been thought through. The outcome is a harmonious and persuasive ambience created by architecture, landscape, the hotel and lodges together. A relaxing and exclusive experience for this city escape.”

Architecture offices involved in the design:
Studio Appelo, Dorens Architects

Studio Appelo


Project location
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Design year


Year Built


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