City of Moers
Together with GrünPlan Landschaftsarchitekten, we took part in the competition "Erlebnisort Freizeitpark Moers", which involved the redesign of an outdated ctiy park. The leisure park dates back to the 1970s, the equipment of the park had lost its attractiveness and topicality and the artificial lake existing in the park showed structural deficiencies. Particular challenges within the design task were the handling of the noise protection problem for the skate park desired by the awarding authority, as well as the handling of the already existing building stock. We found this initial situation exciting and, together with GrünPlan, set to work and found a completely new approach for us.
We used a fictional narrative for the first time in this competition as a design strategy and starting point for all design measures. The idea was that we pull the (imagined) plug in the old pond and that a vortex with a suction effect of unimagined magnitude unfolds from it, influencing the entire park with its force. The vortex pulls old elements from the existing structure and rearranges them on the site, drawing uses close together and creating overlaps, intermingling and density towards the center, where the future new uses are concentrated.
In this case it was unfortunately not enough to win the competition. BUT we have received an acknowledgemet for our entry, which we are very proud of, because we have not only proven our interdisciplinary strength within our team, but also managed to take a more experimental and unconventional path together with GrünPlan in this first collaboration. And this, by the way, not only in terms of the landscape concept, but also with regard to the visual design of the competition documents, where Christian Vukomanic supported us.
Here is the detailed description of the competition entry:
Moers leisure park unleashes unimagined pull:
Clever new uses through captivating design ...
... in a natural landscape with an urban centerpiece.
The development of a suction effect directed towards the center, which affects the entire park area, is the conceptual approach to the redesign of the competition area in the Moers leisure park. This formally entails a redistribution of the existing areas and elements. Everything that was there before is washed away like a stream of water, pulled along and superimposed in a whirl whose center lies at the lowest point in the former water basin. This is where the new, lively center of the park is now emerging, characterized by a variety of different uses in a dense spatial location. The water vortex captures the existing paths and elements of the park, and although it does not manage to uproot the large trees, it sweeps away playground equipment and open spaces. Thus, paths are rearranged, everything flows down the slope side by side, depositing the elements in the center like driftwood.
The multifunctional facility includes play, skate and recreational sports areas, as well as a stage and lounge areas. The vortex results in an overlapping, existing things are reshaped, repositioned and supplemented by contemporary elements. On the new central "plaza", different uses are realized side by side to promote a constant revitalization of the square. Concerts, theater performances, food truck festivals and other temporary offers will find their place here. In addition, the new finish line for the legendary annual soapbox race will run here. Access routes will be reorganized to run with the vortex; central access areas will be created northwest on Krefelder Strasse and southwest near the existing parking lot, while the current trail connection will be maintained in the eastern park area.
By intensifying the central area, a corresponding relief/extensification of the surrounding areas is achieved: In the western park area, the area is to be ecologically enhanced by new plantings of native deciduous trees - some of which are set in such a way that clearings are created. At the same time, they form the compensation measures for the planned tree removals. In this way, the park will be more shielded from Krefelder Strasse in the future. Embedded in the landscape, influenced by the suction effect, extensive, ecologically significant wildflower meadows will be scattered. The interwoven plantings form a counterpart to the active area of the park and provide space to address current environmental and public concerns. All planting areas are low maintenance.
Both the many exceptional tree stands and a large part of the walls of the lookout bastion remain undisturbed by the whirlpool. From now on, they frame the square from the eastern side. The suction effect and the water current become the basic narrative for a trend-setting design language and thus a unique design feature. The new leisure park thus also clearly stands out from the surrounding green spaces and park areas.
Skate park and soundproofing
The positioning of the skate and active area in the middle of the park generates significant advantages in connection with the noise protection regulations. By lowering the skate area by about one and a half meters to the surrounding terrain, it is possible to implement the noise protection device - a concrete wall formed to the west - at the same time as an experiential design element, in the recreational park. In partial areas, the folded concrete wall will be designed as a boulder wall and in the middle area as a skateable element. In addition, bouncy skate elements will be moved closer to the wall, while quieter flow elements will be distributed throughout the rest of the area.
Other noise-reducing design approaches, such as a linear arrangement of the skate park along the noise barrier and a narrow layout of the skate area, result in a lower required height of the noise barrier. Compared to the existing level, the concrete wall protrudes only about one and a half meters from the terrain. By means of a slight slope, it can also be experienced from the western side. This is expected to reduce the noise in the adjacent residential areas to an average of around 45 db, while still allowing the leisure park to be experienced as a whole without creating highly isolated areas.
Implementation and sustainability
By positioning the skate and active area on the surface of the former pond, paths and elements in the surrounding area can initially remain in place and usable. Only the pond will be drained areas will be deconstructed. In the spirit of sustainability, existing pavers and concrete fixtures will be shredded on site and, if uncontaminated, reinstalled as crushed material during the redesign. Excavated soil will be rearranged in the park as loosely modeled mounds. Since most of the construction work will be carried out in the area of the former water basin, there will be little need to interfere with the existing tree structures. The construction site equipment and access can be ensured in consideration of the areas remaining in use. The design meets the requirement to structurally bring forward the skate and active area.
Participation and activation
The design provides for creative leeway that is to be developed together with the future users. The narrative approach of "pulling the plug" and the resulting vortex and pull effect plays a special role here. It makes the transformation of the park not only visible, but also comprehensible and retellable, and is thus helpful in finding an imaginative entry point and numerous starting points for participation formats with citizens and children.
City of Moers