Schönebeck Markplatz

designed by /

Location: Germany / Type: Squares and Plazas / Built: 2016 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on July 7, 2024

Schönebeck’s new market square based on the shared space philosophy

The newly redesigned market square in the town of Schönebeck (Elbe), near Magdeburg, opened on May 2, 2016. This project became feasible following the completion of a large-scale bypass of federal road 246a, including an iconic cable-stayed bridge over the Elbe and a bypass of the old town center along the railway tracks. Previously, the market square saw excessive vehicle traffic, including heavy lorries. Now, with thorough traffic calming, the town’s “parlour” has been transformed with new objectives in mind.

About the design

Inspired by the shared space concept, the redesign of the market square moves away from the traditional layout of oversized, asphalted carriageways bordered by raised kerbs and fragmented decorative town squares.

Accessibility: The new square is entirely barrier-free, accommodating all modes of transport equally. Special zones for the visually impaired and those with limited mobility are subtly marked with structural elements. Guide stones for the blind (ribbed slabs) create car-free zones along the building edges. Attention fields, consisting of four studded slabs each, mark the turn-offs to side streets, ensuring safe crossings via catch strips.

Bicycle racks and distinctive features, such as diagonally arranged benches near the water features, curved square lighting masts, columns, and information boards, help delineate the protected areas in front of the buildings.

Fountain field: Since the market square is not yet vibrant with shops, pubs, and cafés, two main attractions have been created to provide entertainment and appeal. Two fountain fields, located between the town hall and Steinstrasse, feature rectangular areas with ground-level metal strips that echo the tree disc patterns. Paved with yellowish granite matching the rest of the square, these areas allow thin films of water to accumulate, with spherical nozzles creating arched fountains of controllable heights (30-150 cm). Interactive stop and activation fields control the fountains, offering an exciting play area for children. Normally, the jets operate at short intervals, but they are switched off in strong winds to protect nearby building facades.

Historic fountain: The town hall façade and its significant fountain have been cleared. Four medium-sized maple trees were spectacularly relocated using a digging vehicle to previously treeless areas further east on the square.

Lighting: Post-top luminaires illuminate the square, arranged along the inlay to emphasize its shape and spatial formation. Indirect lighting is provided by strip lighting in the benches and stationary traffic. From the outset, the city council emphasized, “We want a market square, not a car park,” thus integrating the square seamlessly with surrounding streets and neighborhoods. Consequently, only four public car parking spaces are available on the square, supplemented by ample parking in the surrounding area. Bicycle parking facilities, in the form of leaning brackets, have been incorporated into the overall design at various locations.

Project Data

Landscape architecture: TGP

Project location: Schönebeck, Germany

Year completed: 2016

Photo credits: BESCO

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