Town Hall Square Solihull
scape Landschaftsarchitekten, The winning design defines the whole area as an urban landscape, a perceptibly continuous public space. The concept is characterized by an intense interaction of architecture and open space. So the Town Hall Square becomes an urban living room, the connecting access road turns into a linear pocket park and the courtyards into public gardens. For the designers the objective was to create the town hall district as an open space for all citizens, a place where people meet and spend their time. A network of squares and promenades connects the scheme to the surrounding.
In 1993 the city council of Solingen, an industrial town in central Germany, decided to merge all the municipal services administration offices in one new building. In this context it was decided to create a new quarter, composed of the municipal buildings, housing, shops, gastronomy and offices. To receive innovative solutions for a new kind of municipal district the city of Solingen advertised an architectural / landscape architectural competition.
To build a coherent area, a pattern of black and white lines traces the whole public open space. Like a marquetry, a connecting concrete carpet integrates various functional elements and provides zones with different characters and uses. The entrance to the new quarter is formed by a wide square. Its design is inspired by the movement of people.
Along the edge it offers enough space for walking, seating and events. In the centre three huge, organically shaped benches along with a group of flowering trees (Sophora japonica, Japanese Pagodatree) establish an area to pause and communicate. Four courtyards within the quarter are a counterpart to this open, lively square.
The courtyards are arranged as abstract gardens, as green, quiet places. Here the black and white pavement is transformed into strips of gravel, perennials, bulbs and grasses. Wooden platforms serve as seats and contain the ventilation of the underground parking. The centre of the Town Hall Square is designed as a linear pocket park: Two footpaths frame a mounded grass strip, planted with multi-stem cherry trees (Prunus × yedoensis, Yoshino Cherry). The park provides areas for playing and relaxation, it acts as a green boulevard and links all parts of the project.
The design is characterized by the close interaction of architecture and space. Through a system of parks and promenades, the area is linked with its surroundings, it creates a sequence of exciting places that allow for different uses. A continuous floor of light and dark concrete slabs connects the various sub-spaces of the area. The existing trees formative forms the backbone of the plan. The existing trees will be preserved as far as possible where this is not possible, the green character of the area updated by new plantings.
Town Hall Square:
The entrance to the city hall district is formed by a generous space to the group, the New Town Hall, Block C, and the bus stop. To Merianstraße the place is taken by a staircase, which expires on Adenauer street. Here it is possible to step into the place just right, the town hall is thus accessible for disabled guests. The center of the square is formed by a group of trees with skulpuralen seating elements. At the edges of the square there are benches and lighting the place. Otherwise, the place of furniture kept free, providing space for events, outdoor seating for the hospitality and plenty of room for movement of the fire department.
The center of the town hall area will be constructed as a linear ‘Pocket Park’: two footpaths frame an elongated strip of lawn modeled, the “Green Wave”. As a green boulevard connects the “Green Wave” old and new city hall with one another, while it is the link between the future residential development to the north and the town hall extension to the south. The grass wave is focused on the historic Town Hall, in the tower of the block C, it takes a second, modern Fokuspunkt.Die modeling of the grass strip takes on the rhythm of the rows of trees in the residential area. At the end points of the model is reduced to such an extent that the grass can be killed by the fire department. The rows of trees are even further out in the form of ornamental cherry trees, which is resulting tree clip, continued in the courts of the City Hall expansion. In the grass band playing and stay offers integrated. The game events are harmoniously integrated into the grass wave, it will be offered various opportunities for movement.
Project name: Small House
Location: Cronenberger road, Solihull, Solingen, Germany
Type: City Space, Public Space, Square
Project Area: 2.1 acres
Competition: 1 Price March 2004
Construction cost: € 2.0 million
Completion Year: September, 2008
Client / Owner / Developer: SEPA Projekt- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, Berlin, Stuttgart
Landscape Architects: scape Landschaftsarchitekten, Düsseldorf, Germany
Architecture: EPA architects and urban planners Planning Group GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany
Collaboration: Birgit Bays, Ulrike Deiss, Jan Heimann, Jutta Katthage, Andreas Klahm, Inga Klindworth, Judith Koch, Patrick Soetewey, Doron Stern
Text Description: © Courtesy of scape Landschaftsarchitekten
Images: © atelier 2, Gereon Hofschneider, Rainer Sachse