sinai was launched as a “practice for open space design and project management” in January 2006. Its founders AW Faust, Klaus Schroll and Bernhard Schwarz had known each other for many years and had worked together in different constellations on many occasions. Their work on the Bundesgartenschau 2001 in Potsdam and the Landesgartenschau 2004 in Wolfsburg in particular brought the three partners together in a variety of roles. From this, the idea evolved to merge their combined experience in landscape architecture, and to jointly open the office sinai.
Over the years, sinai‘s partners have developed their own individual areas of focus in landscape design. The objective of sinai is to combine and reflect these different personal backgrounds in the quality standards of the practice: in our approach to design conception, our attention to detail and focus on applicability in design development and implementation is important, and in the foresight and depth of our project management.
The key specialization of the practice are design and project management of complex, high-quality open space design projects. This combination ensures that each project is managed with creativity and commitment, navigating the client safely and professionally through project design and implementation.
Not many professions have as profound an impact on the immediate human environment as landscape architecture. From this comes a particular responsibility towards each and every place that is subjected to change. No design, whether good or bad, ambitious or plain, is without statement and without effect. Every design therefore contains a spiritual dimension, whether deliberate or not.
The conscious contemplation of the interaction between design and content is at the heart of sinai‘s work.
sinai does not stand for a predefined design style, but for an approach to design development that is characterised by being in constant flux. Every initial idea, however obvious, is immediately confronted with alternative and contrasting ideas. In this process we deliberately seek transdisciplinary exchange. The resulting tension between design model and counter-model releases us from habitual design reflexes and facilitates a process of arriving at the best and most appropriate solution for each place.
The name sinai is symbolic of a landscape of fluid thinking – of a “nomadic” approach to design.
The urban riverscapes of the River Neckar in the heart of Heilbronn appeared fragmented and were characterized by spatial obstacles such as roads and railway lines. Many plots were inaccessible and vacant. Triggered by the development of the “Neckarbogen” (bend of the river Neckar) urban scheme on a former brownfield site, the city’s urban fabric is now being re-stitched. In this process, landscape has been playing a most prominent part. Dividing traffic infrastructures were abolished and the urban landscapes and waterfronts unfold as a connecting tissue for the whole city.
Existing structures and atmospheres were combined with new elements into several continuous landscape strips: the landscaped gardens of the river islands, the urban parks connected to the new housing scheme, the narrow band of Hafenberg, or the nature experience along Neckarhabitat. Each strip develops its own authentic landscape theme embedded into the overall flow of a contemporary, “smart” landscape imbuing the city.
Photos: Nikolai Benner
Forest Park in Bad Lippspringe
The interplays between forest and clearing form the atmospheric structure of the new „Kurwaldpark“ – a historical health resort park in Bad Lippspringe. It is a permeable membrane of historical forest blocks, park windows and long stretches of grasses. The dense existing forest is interwoven with a sequence of simple and clear spatial sceneries. They introduce light, air and space into the forest. These interventions offer new perspectives and ways of connecting to the forest, without compromising the forest’s aura of mystique and magic. Starting from the refurbished “Kurpark” with representative fountains and spectacular plantings, clear spatial sceneries of different intensities are woven into the dense existing forest. Recurring materials throughout the different areas reunite the perception of the park as a whole. With the park’s new identity it’s become a unique trait for the city of Bad Lippspringe. The project is an example of a new approach to designing forested areas near settlements. The park forms an integral part in the network of settlement, historical health resort and recreational space. It acts not only as a spatial but also as an atmospheric connection of the surrounding area. The wide array of activities within the park redefines the historical health resort as a public recreational area usable for all and all year round. Photos: Philip Winkelmeier
Poppelsdorf Campus, Bonn University, Bonn
The gardening tradition of the Rhine region is closely linked with Poppelsdorf and the Bonn gardens. The new campus design picks up on these traditions. A new urban quarter is being created, connecting the districts of Poppelsdorf, Endenich and Weststadt across an area of 12 hectares. But what kind of urban quality will it offer its future students? We envisage a lively mixed-use urban campus which nevertheless is characterised by gardens and green spaces – an attempt at a truly green urbanity, the campus as a “city in the garden”, where students can study and live together. The campus therefore derives its future identity from the site’s gardening tradition. It develops its own unique profile in competition with the surrounding locations. The Poppelsdorf campus is a multilayered complementary space in which areas of high density are interlaced with places of quiet concentration. The redevelopment of the area does not erase its gardening tradition, but consciously reactivates it and projects it into the future. Photos: Nikolai Benner
Hafenpark, Frankfurt /Main
Hafenpark’s atmospheric juxtaposition of vibrant activity and calm spaces, fun sports and the quiet contemplation of nature, embodies the public park of the 21st century – thus the verdict of the city of Frankfurt.
Based on an online survey, the brief for a public realm competition was developed, to which sinai submitted the winning entry. The “Concrete Jungle”, a skate and BMX track, opened in December 2012. The sports and play “ribbon” across the park’s middle section, with basketball pitches, multi-purpose playing fields, a climbing park and fitness equipment, followed in summer 2013. Skateboarders and BMX bikers have since adopted the park as their own – later joined by the fast-growing Freeletics community.
The park stretches from the striking backdrop of the European Central Bank tower to the new Honsell Bridge, marking the end point of the central urban river promenade and connecting to Frankfurt’s green belt towards the north. The park’s overall layout takes its cues from the visual axis between Honsell Bridge and Frankfurt’s skyline, and this is articulated in the prominent steel trellis features along the sports and play trail. A broad north-south vista opens up the connection between the “Concrete Jungle” to the north and the river Main to the south. Raised meadow plateaus on the river-facing side of the park, serve those seeking a more relaxing setting. Photos: Philip Winkelmeier
Zollhafen housing scheme, Mainz, Germany
A solid frame of thorough craftsmanship and the ruggedness of a former port set the scene for the development of the new urban housing scheme at Zollhafen. Its open spaces are conceived by recycling and recombining the site’s atmospheric elements and basic materials. The basic zoning of the Zollhafen is easily intelligible: encircling the historic quays, a rough shell of recycled cobblestones adapts modern inlays connected to the new housing scheme. This contrast between the rustic of the past and a subtly comfortable simplicity along the borderlines between the living areas and the public quaysides characterizes the entire open space scheme along the “loop” which accesses the new neighbourhoods. Based on the simple set of materials, play with proportion, trees and greenery creates a wide variety of space typologies along its course. North and South riverside quays are connected by a new flap bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, which sits on historic bridge heads. sinai was also involved in the custom-design of the bridge.