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.
In the direction of the city centre, the grounds of the Schalke Verein are presented with a bastion made of brickwork which at the same time highlights and encloses the control centre monument. A ramp offers a barrier-free access also suitable for cyclists from Hohenzollernstraße to the flat square area with pagoda trees. Stairways provide direct access from Hohenzollernstraße. The pavement of the square of basalt paving is structured by barrier-free walkways with large-format slabs. The tree grid offers opportunities for use as a small marketplace for which electrical installations are provided. Tree spotlights illuminate the square indirectly.
The Festival Square is located to the East of the control centre, whose sail-shaped plaza peels out of the pagoda tree grove like a clearing. The basalt paving again provides the framework for a slightly sloping, robust asphalt surface, which is structured by large-format concrete slabs. In the West, the difference in height is opened up by stairs, while in the South, the wide, curved and sloping walls of the Festival Square trace the contour of the sail. The dimension of the free and open area of the Festival Square also offers space for bigger events. Three lighting pillars tipped in the slope of the concrete wall throw concentrated light onto the asphalt surface. Control boxes and a hydrant provide connectivity for market use and other events.
The ore bunker monument is released and staged as a spectacular solitaire. In the Western part, the 200-meter-long concrete sculpture is developed and offers insights into the impressing underworld of the plant. South of the walk-in bunker section, an asphalt surface marks the Bunker forecourt as a sports and exercise area. The elephant feet – the foundation of the former blast furnaces – located farther South, are partially integrated into a skating facility. Further East they are located in an extensive meadow area and are designed as climbing objects. The plateau between the wall remains of the foundry hall was designed as an extensive cross-bike course.
Location: GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany
Constructor: NRW.URBAN GMBH FOR NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN AND THE CITY OF GELSENKIRCHEN (on a trust basis)
Landscape architects: PLANERGRUPPE OBERHAUSEN
Other planners: TOR 5 ARCHITECTS, BOCHUM (URBAN COMPETITION); DSGN, MÜNSTER (consulting skate system); KÜHNERT ENGINEERING OFFICE, BERGKAMEN (traffic planning)
Urban competition: 2001, 1st PRIZE
Planning: 2003 to 2008
Realisation: CONSTRUCTION PART 1: 2009-2010; CONSTRUCTION PART 2: 2011-2014
Total area: approx. 35 ha
Space areas: approx. 4 ha
Photo credits: Claudia Dreysse