Planergruppe Oberhausen: The formation of a tree island defines a new area within the historic marketplace, in which the existing trees and also historical elements are integrated. At the same time, the visual relationship with the western border of the Rheinaue is highlighted by restructuring and renaturation. By reducing the traffic area, generous spaces are created. The choice of uniform materials creates a calm appearance for the appealing backdrop of trees and historic buildings and connects the different surfaces.
During the medieval period, the marketplace was the central square of the city. With numerous historic buildings, the big old linden trees, the market well and the cross of justice, it has the potential to become an attractive historic city square. The relics of the fortification together with the customs house and the medieval alleys such as Freiheit and Zollstrasse strengthen the historical character of this urban space. Additionally, the special potential is its location on the upper border of the city towards the countryside. The marketplace is located about three meters higher than Kapellenstrasse and therefore provides a great view over the Rheinaue. The historical significance of the marketplace and the potential of the relationship to the landscape are therefore central elements to integrate into the redesign of the square.
The reinterpretation of the square refers to the historical city layout in which the marketplace consisted of a triangular square in the eastern part and an alley in the western part. On the eastern and topographically higher located area, a tree island is created – covered with a waterbound surface of sand and bordered by natural stones, and thereby creating a sublime frame around this beautiful area. This island only takes up existing elements and the old linden trees without any other additional construction elements, and hence generates a creative emphasis. A spacious central public area is created, which can be used for public catering.
In the west, a plateau elevated to the height of the well square forms a counterpart to the island. An open and welcoming area for outdoor catering is created right underneath three newly planted linden trees. The difference in altitude from the plateau to the steadily sloping square is compensated by three extra steps with a “city sofa” providing a great view over both the well and the Rheinaue.
In order to reduce the traffic areas, we propose traffic routeing on the north side of the square, with a reduction to one-way traffic in the last section of Turmstrasse. The resulting traffic-free space serves as a public area and for outdoor catering of the local restaurants. Parking will not be offered as the historic marketplace should remain free from any dormant traffic.
A series of seven pole lights in an unobtrusive modern design provide the necessary illumination. In addition, atmospheric accents such as recessed floor spotlights illuminating the well, the cross of justice, and the old linden trees, as well as the old fortification wall and the historic town hall are realised.
All areas are uniformly covered with natural stone. A basalt stone in elongated format is used in various configurations taking into account the different traffic types and loads. The border of the tree island and the steps are made of gray granite. The proposal of the citizens’ initiative to reconstruct the original historic well at its old location is approved. The well will be integrated into the new layout instead of the cross of justice.
Landscape architect: Planergruppe Oberhausen
Location: Monheim am Rhein
Planning period: 2015-2017
Year of realisation: 2016-2018
Image credits: Claudia Dreysse