A24 Landschaft: The Berlin landscape architecture office A24 Landschaft was founded in 2005 by Steffan Robel. Its success has derived from projects that orchestrate the interplay between city and landscape, its designs for which have received national and international awards. The international team comprises around 20 architects and landscape architects, who work on public projects and competitions in the fields of landscape architecture and urban development on a variety of different of scales.
All the office’s projects share a comprehensive approach. How is the location integrated? Which functions does it fulfil and should it in the future fulfill? What are its specific qualities? Whether the project is an entire new neighborhood or a smaller urban square or park, the design process begins with large-scale conceptualization that becomes more refined at each level, and only finishes with the final and smallest details. This process clarifies the space, renders new structures comprehensible and distills the unique qualities of the site, while fortifying and enhancing them. Landscape-architectural intervention creates new potential for open space – whether it be green or urban. Usage options and user groups become activated and expanded, while whole regions are invigorated.
This methodology gives rise to widely varying projects, each of which emphasizes the identity of the particular location, and thus foments the identification of the residents with their city, neighborhood or park: Mangfallpark Rosenheim returns the riverscape to the city’s residents; the urban redevelopment of Schwäbisch Gmünd has enlivened the center of its residential quarter; and the redesigned entrance of Planten un Blomen has allowed Hamburg residents to rediscover the urban park.
Open areas give a city its face. The effects of high-quality design continue to radiate throughout its implementation. This conviction drives A24 Landschaft in its creation of open areas that fortify locations’ social and ecological sustainability. Contemporary yet not short-lived design is an investment in our shared future.
Text: A24 Landschaft
Photographer: Hanns Joosten
Relocating industry from the uninhabited flood plains of the Inn and Mangfall rivers near Rosenheim has allowed the city to expand its urban development to the riverbanks. A system of landscape boardwalks form the backbone of the park and extend the urban development axes, which now lead over the waterways and directly to the fluvial topography of the Inn. These landscape boardwalks are hybrid architectural elements, forming promenades while also serving as lookout points, bridges and lounging areas. Two key design issues were the close interaction between landscaping and architecture, as well as the integration of sustainable water management and its attendant requirements in terms of engineering structures and flood protection. Mangfall Park has become an engine for urban renewal in adjacent neighborhoods. It is frequently visited and has become a favorite recreation area close to the city center.
Between the Elbe and Alster and opposite Hamburg Messe, the city’s exhibition centre, lies Planten un Blomen – one of Hamburg’s most beloved parks, a park that enjoys an eventful history. As part of an urban reorientation and the expansion of the adjoining trade-fair grounds, the park entrance just across the street was redesigned. A new fence surrounds the southern grounds of the park like a sash. It consists of steel plates that play with light and shade, that delimit and protect, yet allow the gaze to penetrate and provoke curiosity; for, from the outside they look deformed, as if the nature contained within the park is protesting its confinement, trying to escape. The design confronts the ambivalence of protecting the precious park in the middle of the metropolis, while insistently beckoning visitors to a new ramp, which re-establishes the entrance to this side of the park as a clean incision. It breaks through the thick green facade of the old stock of trees, managing simultaneously to preserve this facade and to direct people’s gaze into the park. Both careful interventions create a new spatial dramaturgy between movement and rigidity, between city, nature and culture.
Schwäbisch Gmünd has engineered a far-reaching urban redevelopment process resulting in a new green heart for the city. This comprehensive project has structurally reoriented the inner city, including its traffic patterns. Historical urban structures were re-exposed, new urban axes were formed and expansive public spaces were built. A symbol for this new Gmünd is the reclamation of a central open area: the long overbuilt outlet of the Josefsbach into the Rems stream. This river mouth (Mündung in German) is the source of the city’s name. The water junction has become a link between the new and existing open areas in Gmünd: located between the train station and the old town, it links the old baroque city garden, the Remspark, open spaces along the Josefsbach and the passages to the old town, which converge to form a new, spacious green zone. Each of these areas opens onto the river mouth, imbuing it with a rich play of various relationships to and perspectives on the water. The comprehensive spatial revaluation and urban development of the inner city – which had formerly suffered from a lack of green areas – along with the attractive open areas along the water and the broad spectrum of recreational offerings strengthens the urban core, providing healthy competition for surrounding communities and sustainably gearing the traditional town for the future.
The State Horticultural Show Landau 2015 represents a model conversion project encompassing more than 27 hectares of land and a budget of 13 million Euros. The landscape architecture incorporates the unique features of the Vorderpfalz region, thus forging a close association with the location. It provides a framework for the future development of a new residential quarter as well as a sport and recreation campus on the grounds of the former military facilities there. A landscape axis proceeds from the urban area into the landscape, linking it to the Ebenberg Nature Reserve that borders the grounds of the State Horticultural Show. All measures address the successful integration of nature conservation concerns and recreational uses into an overall design concept. The enduring “green scaffolding” for the development already provides an attractive residential environment , which harmonizes the mixture of listed barrack buildings and new housing constructions. In the center of the new district lies a sizable neighborhood park, at the heart of which is a pool of water with lush vegetation planted within. The sport and recreation campus, which garners city-wide appeal, lies on the grounds of the former coal yard. The offering of “classic” play and sporting areas is capped off by large expanses for the practice of various trend sports. Its utilization is mindful of ecological considerations and is carefully integrated into the fold.
Eutin is a good example of how a city that already benefits from an extraordinarily favorable location between two lakes can significantly enhance its identity through targeted interventions. Despite its prime location, the city‘s open space – with the exception of the historic castle garden – has offered very little in terms of design quality or recreation along the shores of the lakes. The water was given little or no priority; there was no network of paths and, more glaringly, no real recreational opportunities for families and young people. The citizenry was engaged in dialog to incorporate their concerns regarding the opening the city to the lake, invigorating and improving access to the areas along the water, and creating new possibilities for recreation. The competition design by A24 Landschaft was realized for the 2016 State Horticultural Show in Eutin. The result is a newly interpreted, overtly contemporary cultural landscape. The current design makes conceptual reference to the 18th- and 19th-century garden that surrounds Eutin’s baroque lakeside castle. The landscape garden‘s visual axes, which incorporate the lake, are conferred as a principle of the overall design. The hitherto barely perceptible links between the city and the lake form the basis for experiencing the open areas beyond the reach of the castle garden. The rediscovery of the lakeside areas will be a boon for tourism and location marketing and heighten citizens‘ identification with their city.