Planergruppe Oberhausen

Germany /

We design free and open spaces by making space perceptible and usable. We draw the attention to the existing qualities of (city) landscapes.

Our office was founded in Oberhausen (Germany) in 1973, and since the end of 2018 we are based in Essen and Hannover. Our focus is landscape architecture and we are active in all related contemporary topics. Our range of services extends from large-scale concepts to the planning of neighbourhoods or district parks.

Our main office in the Ruhr area is located in the midst of an industry and settlement area, which allows us a detailed view on potentials and issues of the Ruhr-Emscher region. Moreover, it raises awareness for projects in other domains and areas.

Working in the domain of designing industrial landscapes have shaped our work as these spaces have an unconventionally fascinating beauty which wants to be perceived and preserved. The appreciation of the existing is the principle of our work: we discern the patterns of the existing and use architectural elements and materials with restraint yet consciously, and always with respect to the space. Whenever we intervene with our work, we do so in a retained and dedicated manner.

We are a team of long-time, experienced and young landscape architects and architects. We develop draft designs in a group and together with those who move in these free and open spaces, as through different areas and domains of experience, the perspective broadens and the concept becomes more multifaceted. In many of our projects, we work interdisciplinary with traffic planners, urban planners and architects, landscape architects, ecologists, as well as artists.

With the completion of the projects our work is not fully finished as it is our concern to continue to further accompany these by developing concepts for value-preserving maintenance, calculating lifecycle costs and planning long-term maintenance management.

Potential influences of climate change, a change in mobility behaviour and the preservation of biodiversity challenge open spaces. We consider and include these factors and plan accordingly to make free and open spaces available not only today but also in the future.

Zollverein Park

Our approach and handling of Zollverein is based on several principles: emphasis on the architectural ensemble, restraint in landscape design, reduction of elements and materials, respect for the existing, preservation of industrial origin, acquisition of space by the visitors, making the transformation from a hermetically sealed-off industrial site to a public tourist highlight visible and experienceable. Zollverein Park – which has developed on industrially embossed terrain and does not deny its origins by gently adding and classifying – keeps its unique selling point by the high-contrast interacting between the clear, simple forms and structures of industrial architecture and the variety of spontaneous vegetation. The shape and outer appearance of Zollverein Park is being developed by a systematic and continuous maintenance.

With its status as a world heritage site, Zollverein has a very high radiance and attraction for the city of Essen and the Ruhr region. At the foreground is the impressive industrial architecture of the mine plant. The open spaces have an unobtrusive look which creates a surface to take an appropriate effect on the architecture; they complement the ensemble to a formal framework that makes the dimensions of the site tangible. Zollverein Park is an exceptional open space, which offers a unique experience with its complex open spaces in conjunction with the mining facility, and attracts tourists and local residents equally. The visitor is invited to individually discover the park.

Photography: Claudia Dreyße

The Landscape Therapeutic Park in Brilon

The landscape therapeutic park in Brilon visualizes the contrast between an open meadow valley and steep forest slopes. The redesigned spa park with the newly integrated “Haus des Gastes” is the attractive centre of the meadow valley with its beautiful trees, the fragrant flower meadows and hilly grassland. Important views to the city, to the white limestone rocks in the distance and up to the former ski jump were elaborated. In the south, the park is dominated by the woods surrounding the valley and the wide meadows that merged from the lawns. The forest represents the introverted counterpoint to the open meadowland. Along the landscape therapeutic path with the spa park as a starting point there are 13 stations that stage various moods such as clarity, harmony, confusion, mindfulness, contemplation and sublimity. Here, amazing things can be discovered, peace can be enjoyed, sounds and scents can be explored, and the alternation of light and shadow can be perceived. Recurring elements such as the comfortable benches, the red color and the explanatory lettering, integrate these stations into the overall context of the extensive landscape.

Photography: Claudia Dreyße

A Plateau for Fürstenberg

In a prominent location not far from the Cathedral of Münster, opposite the new LWL Museum of Art and Culture, a versatile city square has been created, offering a high quality of stay.
The name of the Fürstenberghaus originates from Franz Friedrich Wilhelm von Fürstenberg, an important and influential statesman in the prince-bishopric of Münster in the second half of the 18th century. The Fürstenberghaus today houses the Faculties of History and Philosophy at the University of Münster. 
An annex to the existing museum in the inner courtyard as well as the problem of finding a solution to the rampant wild parking of bicycles, made the re-design of the square necessary.

The great potential of this clearly defined urban space in a central location is being represented by the over 20m high dawn redwood – a natural monument – and right next to it a mighty red oak. Our conceptual design preserves and protects the trees in the long term, and integrates the trees as essential elements in the new layout of the square. This creates a versatile urban space with a greatly increased welcoming quality of a stay in that area. 

Photography: Claudia Dreyße

Museum Peter August Böckstiegel in Werther

The painter Peter August Böckstiegel (1889-1951) got strongly influenced by the nativeness and simplicity of peasant life in his homeland. His groundedness find expression in his works, and thus, the rural environment of his parents’ house – which later was again his private residence – repeatedly became motifs for his paintings.

This very approach was followed by the design of the open space, which integrates the new museum building into the environment of the former residential building. We were taking the existing, rural-like structures and strengthen these in their simplicity and clarity.

In the motive of the orchard meadow, the change of high and cut fields and meadows and finally the grids in the corn are reflected. The new order carefully covers this basis and becomes legible. The materials and shapes of the lawn paths and the in-situ concrete surfaces with brushed surface are reduced to a simple shape and reveal the manufacturing process. The original craftsmanship is the principle of the design.

Photography: Claudia Dreyße

A Park of Encounter in Xanten

The historic city center of Xanten is surrounded by a 14-hectare city park: the rampart area. As the historical origin was the defence of the boundaries around the city, today the rampart area serves as a recreational and leisure park in the heart of the city. From 2017 to 2019, the rampart area has been converted into a spa garden with the intention of strengthening the local tourism in Xanten.

We have designed and built on the existing green potential of the area and have developed a contemporary, clean image with emphasis on the historical structures. Considering today’s and future users, innovative offers expand the average profile of a classic spa garden and result into a “Park of Encounter” appealing to all generations. Right from the start, special focus was laid on a barrier-free design for the whole area.

Photography: Claudia Dreyße

Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences


The new Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences focuses on defining identity to the area. By its open and inviting structure, the new campus gets perfectly embedded in the existing environment. The commonly used buildings center the campus in public, and the different faculties are made accessible from the center via the foyers. Consequently, also the residential district on the Southside of the street Duisburger Strasse becomes integrated as an important player. The Broich district becomes the new University district of Mülheim/Ruhr and the campus structure supports this development.


The focal square is divided into several sections of various spatial qualities. The Campus Foyer forms the main entrance to the campus by means of column light rows. These densely placed lights brighten the entree at night, and also generally highlight the entrance clearly and noticeably during daylight. The square is paved with large-sized floor plates. In-situ concrete inlays mark the center of the square and the quiet communal areas and create a link to the industrial history of the area.

Photography: Claudia Dreyße

Schalker Verein

Due to the long fallowing time, there was some ‘second-hand nature’ available on the site of the former steel mill Schalker Verein. In the course of an urban development competition, these natural areas were identified as great potential of the location from which the motto ‘Investor Green’ derived. The free and open spaces were made accessible at short notice and provide a framework for the long-term development of the site. The aim is to create an attractive ‘campus’ which adjoins the neighbouring districts with a green border. The existing green potential will be preserved in direct connection with the listed ore and coal bunker in the South and will be developed through extensive green areas in the North.

For long-term urban development, an inner green axis with solitary buildings has been proposed to become the centrepiece of a high-quality business park for start-up companies. The development from the city centre to the West into the area is organized by three squares. The Bastion Square and the Festival Square accentuate the height difference and form two suitably sized and structurally designed access areas and lead over to the generous space between the ore bunker and the railway line. The resulting sequence which is oriented to the structures of the former industry, is not only the entree of the district and the first signal for new investments, but also offers a new space for all conceivable activities and appropriations.

Photography: Claudia Dreyße

Published on November 28, 2019

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