Häfner/Jimenez: That the effects of mining extend beyond its borders is something which the residents of Staßfurt can sense in their town centre. For around 150 years, Potassium has been mined in shafts beneath their city. Following the closure of the shafts, they are filling with water and collapsing. As a result, the earth’s surface level has dropped by up to seven metres. A locally distributed drainage system is supposed to prevent further dropping. Consequently, a lake with an expanse of 4,500m2 became both a formative element of the historic centre as well as a catalyst for a new municipal development.
The water’s ballast is reminiscent of the raw crystalline salt that brought the city its prosperity, while taking away its historical centre: streets that end as platforms over the water are concrete visual reminders of this. The district’s east-west connection, Kottenstrasse, remains accessible to pedestrians and cyclists via a bridge. The cutting is designed as a spatial unity, integrating the lake, the market and the site of the former church. The market lies as a flat surface in a bed of gravel. The adjacent site of the church to the north holds the ruins of the St. Johannis Church and the so-called leaning tower at 50cm below ground level, which will remain untouched for generations to come. The site was shaped as a horizontal lawn. It serves as a calibration mark to measure possible future changes. The outline of a slanted surface within the lawn marks the location of the former church tower that was the town’s landmark for over 500 years.
Landscape Architecture: Häfner/Jimenez
Location: Staßfurt an der Bode / Germany
Commissioned by: Stadt Staßfurt
Staßfurt „Town Centre” is an IBA STADTUMBAU 2010 Project
Design: 2004 – 2010
Implementation period: 2006 – 2010
Text by Häfner/Jimenez