Baukultur Workshop, July 2015
Infrastructure and Landscape
“Design generates creativity and innovation, making it the key to improved acceptance of major infrastructure projects,” said Reiner Nagel, Chair of the Federal Foundation of Baukultur, at the opening of the Baukultur Workshop on “Infrastructure and Landscape”, held in Regensburg on 9 and 10 July 2015.
Kilometre-long power lines, wind farms wherever one looks, and high walls for flood protection. The built impacts of climate change and the energy transition often negatively infringe on landscapes. In open discussions at five workshop tables and at a project exchange, landscape architects, engineers, urban planners, and architects considered eight examples presented on the podium, discussing how infrastructure can be integrated, not only on an acceptable level, but also functionally and creatively, in order to bring added value to, or even enrich, the overall appearance of the landscape.
A third of the cultural landscapes in Germany are already visually marked by technology or construction, Andrea Hartz (agl) explained in her keynote speech on transformation processes. For that reason, there now exist urbanised landscapes in addition to natural landscapes. So far however, only experts have described this transformation; politics and society, however, must also take up this topic, said Hartz. The project of the town harbour in Senftenberg shows, for example, that a former mining site can become a trendsetter for an entire region. Tourist attractions, catering establishments, modern lighting concepts, and accessibility for the disabled have successfully generated subsequent investment. Today the open-cast mines of Senftenberg have become a draw for tourists. The project management for this initiative was carried out by the landscape architects (bgmr Landschaftsarchitekten) in close cooperation with engineers specialised in fields like hydraulic and structural engineering.
As the project BUGA Koblenz 2011 (Federal Garden Show 2011 in Koblenz) shows, a federal garden show can strengthen cooperation and cohesion in transformational processes taking place in a city, Stephan Lenzen (RMP Stephen Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten) explained. Residents can thereby be included in these transformational processes. Dieter Grau (Atelier Dreiseitl GmbH) then offered some insights into the development of the site of a cement factory in Dormettingen near Rottweil. The new Schiefererlebnispark (“schist discovery park”) not only creates new agricultural land but also adds value for residents who can now witness the extraction of raw material within a discovery park, which also features a lake and a fossil park.
The Baukultur Workshop in Regensburg highlighted some local projects for integrated flood protection. Around 25 interested participants had the opportunity to view these in person on a conversational bicycle tour. The entertaining tour started at the main railway station and led to, among other places, Schwabelweis, along the Werftstrasse in the Unterer Wöhrd district, and to Reinhausen. Tour participants heard the views of involved planners and local residents. The flood protection system in Schwabelweis demonstrated cooperation between landscape architects, building engineers, and architects in an exemplary manner. The project, which began with a Europe-wide competitive tender, not only created a protection system but also improved the whole river bank area by creating recreational opportunities for Regensburg residents, said Wolfgang Weinzierl (Weinzierl Landscape Architects GmbH).
The second part of the Workshop focused on landscape aesthetics. Prof. Dr. Sören Schöbel-Rutschmann (TU Munich) examined these in his keynote address “Paradigms of separation of landscape and infrastructure”. Wind and solar power plants per se devalue the landscape, he argued. Of course, residents experience the “tactile shock of global infrastructure meeting private spaces” when a “monster-sized line” runs behind their homes, he argued. Instead, we should create Baukultur concepts for integration and design and carefully integrate renewable energy generation into the city and countryside.
This was also the approach taken by Parkautobahn A42 in the Emscher Landscape Park in the Ruhr area (Dr. Hans-Peter Rohler, foundation 5+). Over 58 kilometres of motorway, the A42 connects significant emblems of industrial culture, leading past mining settlements, housing projects, slag heaps – where now artworks can be found –, and rail lines that have become bike paths. To integrate these elements, on the one hand, various elements such as visitors, management, ecology, and their interactions should be considered together. On the other hand, regional and communal planning and infrastructure providers should take a common approach. The Lange Berge service area project near Coburg (mahl.gebhard.konzepte) also shows that interdisciplinary work is the key to success. The project, which began as a competitive tender, aims to bring together landscape architects and traffic planners to find the optimal solution to create a place of real value for visitors as a landscape experience, not just a place for transport infrastructure.
Dr. Babette Scurell (Bauhaus Dessau Foundation) gave insights into her sociological approach with her presentation of Energy Avantgarde Anhalt. The project aims to outline the research framework for the transformation of urban and country spaces as part of German’s energy transition to post-fossil fuel systems. Following this, Lars-Christian Uhlig, with the conversion project New Construction at am Horn in Weimar, illustrated how the city succeeded in redeveloping a former barracks site into a new residential district. The architects had to reconcile here the wishes of the contractors with the requirements of the town’s development plan. They achieved this via an entirely open process and with the help of an advisory council for construction. They thereby created an alternative to building on greenfield and strengthened the urban infrastructure.
Dr. Wilhelm Klauser (InD Initialdesign) then gave his concluding keynote speech on the interdependence between town and country: when cities grow, the countryside inevitably loses rural residents and manufacturing facilities. Often planning ends at administrative borders, yet it is vital to take into account the habits and movement of residents. Rural areas offer unlimited design possibilities. How these are taken up, however, is still an ongoing process.
Baukultur Workshop in Regensburg reveals perspectives for the design of infrastructure projects
Town and Country
Federal Foundation of Baukultur