Plaza of the Human Rights

Christoph Valentien, Donata Valentien (text): Behind the Riem arcade shopping mall the Plaza of the Human Rights, which is twice the size of the Marienplatz, the well-known centre of old Munich, works as a counterpart to the Willy-Brandt-Platz and the commercial zone. The aim was to create an intimate enclave for the public, a “city stage for all residents “. Coniferous trees, spaced irregularly, loosen the clear, urban geometry of the water-bound space. Natural, soft surface material such as wood, sand and vegetation constitute its character. The square is divided into two district parts, which extend from the Riem arcade shopping mall to a central green area called “Riemer Freiheit“. In front of the shopping centre, slightly elevated over street level, a café terrace is situated. A large bench indicates the limit between private and public space and is supposed to become a central meeting point. The strictness of the surrounding buildings is eased by the light appearance of a noticeable group of birch trees standing in front of the café terrace.

South of the Erika-Cremer-Street opens up the actual square. It is set between the residences in the west and the new church centre in the east. With its open, informal spatial character, the bosk, consisting of 90 pine trees is porch of the church, space for activities as well as stage for the public. With hardly distinct regulations it is accessible to everybody at any time.

The treetops cast an unusual shadow pattern on the paving. This lively game of light and shadow creates a Mediterranean atmosphere. Underneath the trees, to the west, benches made from sawn and brushed blocks of oak wood are grouped in rows. To the south a broad wall terminates the square. It functions as a balcony and invites visitors as well as residents to enjoy the fabulous view of the surrounding landscape and to the Alps.

Landscape Architecture: Valentien + Valentien (Christoph Valentien, Donata Valentien)
Location: Messestadt München-Riem
Client: City of Munich represented by MRG Massnahmeträger Messestadt Riem GmbH
Lighting design: Kolbe + Sekles
Furniture (benches): Thomas Rösler
Area: 13.000 m2

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