Editor's Choice

terra nova BiosphereBelt

designed by + /

Location: Germany / Type: Post-Industrial / Built: 2013 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on March 22, 2024

Terra nova is the development of a landscape characterised by open-cast lignite mining into an entirely new type of landscape setting – the Rhein-Erft Energy Park – which combines the ecological, sustainable, social and economic aspects of power generation, landscape utilisation and nature development in a whole new way, and demonstrates prospects for the time after coal for this landscape setting. This unique project involves the cooperation of the mining company RWE, the district of Rhein-Erft and the towns of Bedburg, Bergheim and Elsdorf. Terra nova encompasses an area of 35 km2 and is being developed on the basis of a master plan generated in 2008. The Biosphere Belt is one of the three central modules of terra nova and is the result of a transformation process of a former excavation material belt into a nature, leisure and recreation belt. The 14 km long route for the former soil conveyor system is cut into the landscape in a straight line with a width of 100 m and 10 m high emission protection walls along both sides of the route.

The artificial topography of the excavation material belt system has been outwardly retained, whilst special vegetation communities and landscape setting types are developing inside the spatially protected area. This newly created Biosphere Belt tells the geological story of the origins of lignite in the region in sequences of different landscape types – between power station and open-cast mining. For this purpose, pre-glacial landscape types such as bald cypress woods, pine woods and dry sand dune grasslands have been formed along the route, creating diverse spatial sequences. Individual areas have been filled with 4 million m3 of tertiary excavation material and dunes have been formed with GPS-controlled crawlers on the basis of a 3D model. Through selected trees and the development of special seeding systems it has been possible to ensure the early occupation of this area with initial planting. Orange avalanche barriers, a visible sign of the intervention, shaped over the areas of vegetation as a guard against damage caused by browsing game.

Orange info boxes positioned at landscape points of significance provide information on the transformation processes that are on-going to this day. With their individual language of form, the boxes pick up on the location and theme of the information they provide. However, their colour and material ensure that they are recognisable as a unit.

Project Data

Landscape Architecture: bbz landschaftsarchitekten (Timo Herrmann landscapearchitect) arch42 (Ernst Scharf architect)
bbz Team: Ellen Kallert, Wieschen Siewers, Lars Bauer, Katharina Wittchen
Collaborators: Torsten Köchlin (designer) Alexander von Birgelen (consultancy seed product) Ingenieurbüro Willi Hensen (construction management)
Design: 2009-2010
Implementation: 2010-2013
Location: Bedburg, Bergheim,Elsdorf province/region: Rhein-Erft-District Germany
Area: 100 ha
Budget: 9 Mio €
contracting authority: RWE Power AG, Planning Association :terra nova with the Communities of Bedburg, Bergheim, Elsdorf
Photos: Veit Landwehr, heli-pictures by Tom May


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