Green living in the city

Concept for the development of a sustainable, livable and green quarter in the south-east of Leipzig

Übersicht EG-Nutzung Gewerbe

Overview of ground floor commercial use M 1:500, © self made

The right to the city as the right to a renewed green urban life.

Rapid population growth is often accompanied by a decline in the quality of the urbanization process. With our concept design, we aim to provide residents a balanced and sustainable green life. We encourage innovation through community and environmentally conscious living.

Sustainablility issues are particularly important to us. A key point is the coexistence of urban living and nature. Mixed uses of space are the most important aspects of successfully shaping public life in a piazza. In addition, many everyday uses are centrally located to make everyday life easier through short distances. The goal is to bring the community together and encourage social interactions.

A: Piazza – The meeting place

The central open space in the middle of the site will be an urban place to linger, intended to be a small natural oasis in the middle of the city.

Water often represents a calming effect for people in their hectic working days. For this reason, we integrate an organically shaped pond planted with water lilies in the piazza. On the one hand, water areas provide a heat-balancing function and increase humidity, on the other hand they serve as a habitat for many organisms and plants (biodiversity). Native shrubs and other low-growing plants will surround  the pond. We provide seating and lounging options by wooden benches and loungers next to the pond.

Sketches for the design of the piazza
Sketches for the design of the piazza
Sketches for the design of the piazza M 1:333, © self made

The square will display an assortment of different trees. Cherry tree and Norway maple are particularly suitable for this purpose. They do not have a deep and branched root system, which means that we do not risk breaking up the soil. In addition, these tree species convince with their high winter and climate resistance. The cherrytree blossoms in splendid colors in the summer, softening the modern and linear character of the square.

Details

We place birdhouses in the trees. They provide shelter for birds as well as an opportunity to observe animal life for people. It is important to ensure that the birds are not fed in summer. The adjacent primary school can participate to maintain the birdhouses.

We will also equip the square with other details. According to the motto “color brings joy” we integrate colorful paving stones, which are visual relief and accentuation. They are a clearly visible demarcation. In addition, we create a tactile paving system, which will offer visually impaired people orientation on the square. We intent to illuminate the area with solar-powered street lamps, which give a warm light. They shine downwards, to not disturb residents by too bright lighting at night. 

In front of the houses exposed to the square, we want to build a covered walkway, like a kind of arcades, using green roofing structures. These will serve as noise, visual and weather protection.

B: Block 3 – Basic supply

Overview block 3, © self made

Block 3 represents the longest frontage to the square and has the largest commercial area. Direct access is possible via Lößniger Strasse. Inhabitants can reach the block on foot from the direction of the park and playground.

On this corner will be a branch of a local traditional baker. The baker will use no ready-made mixtures in the production and still does it according to traditional recipes. With the help of proper calculation of the required daily quantities, we want to prevent mass production and waste of baked goods to the garbage. Often bakers are obliged to have a large supply of goods even just before closing time. At our bakery the motto is: “When it is gone, it is gone”. If you cannot pick up your bread until the evening, you can reserve it online in advance.

Next to the bakery there will be a small florist. The florist cooperates with the elementary school and supports them in planting and maintaining the raised beds as part of the “school garden lessons”.

Supermarket

The supermarket in block 3 will provide the basic products for everyday use and additionally an area with regionally sourced products like fresh fruits and vegetables. There is also an area with unpackaged food to give residents the chance to shop close to home, locally and unpacked.

People often reach for products at eye level. Therefore, we arrange organic products at this height to draw attention to foods from organic agriculture. In order to brighten the supermarket with natural light, a glass wall in the fruit and vegetable section will replace the concrete facade to create visibility to the outside. The glass facade will move on to a concrete facade. We place bicycle racks in front of the facade. This facade will also be layered with greenery. 

Skizze zur Fassadengestaltung der Obst- und Gemüseabteilung
Sketch for the facade design of the fruit and vegetable area, © self made

Delivery to the stores will be via the underground garage in order to minimize noise.

On the corner in the direction of Lößniger Straße is the district office, which can be reached via a large lobby. Residents can turn to the office staff for all questions and problems relating to “living in the neighborhood”. The lobby also leads to the stairwell of the apartment building and, provides a meeting space for the residents with seating niches integrated into the wall and large indoor plants.

Skizze zur Gestaltung der Lobby/Quartiersbüro
Sketch for the design of the lobby/district office M 1:100, © self made

C: Block 4 – Spicy pleasure

Overview block 4, © self made

In the block 4 that borders the piazza to the east, we imagine a Mexican restaurant. 

This will be based on the open kitchen concept, allowing guests to watch their food being prepared. The cooks will use mostly seasonal products, which will be sourced from regional suppliers. There will also be the opportunity to offer cooking workshops for all ages. 

Right next to it, a pharmacy would cover daily hygiene needs, as well as providing medical supplies.

D: Block 7 – Creating a comfortable working atmosphere

Overview block 7, © self made

Block 7 will be outfitted with a coworking space. Open plan offices offer both neighborhood residents and external parties the opportunity to work and collaborate. This promotes communication between different disciplines and supports the development of joint projects. In addition, there should be ample possibility for events and meetings in the premises.

For environmental reasons, technical equipment such as printers and scanners will be shared and part of the energy required will be sourced from the solar cells on top of the roof.

In terms of rates, residents of the neighborhood pay less than external users. This way, we aim to achieve a higher level of neighborly cooperation and offer residents the opportunity to work in a home office away from their homes without having to travel long distances.

Additionally, there will be a book swapping shelf at the entrance. Raised beds on the facade of the building will break up the area in front of the coworking space and add lots of green color in the summer.

Beispiel für Hochbeete

Example of raised beds, © Rombergs

Café

A café next to the co-working space will offer the opportunity to spend a relaxed lunch break or meet with friends in the afternoon. An outdoor seating area that extends into the building’s courtyard will feature lounge chairs and other seating options. A large glass facade will provide needed shelter in the winter and can be opened completely in the summer.

Through opportunities for participation for residents, for example in recipes, there will be a wide selection of vegan to gluten free products. In addition, there should be a small ice cream counter with organic ice cream in summer.

Beispiel für grünen Freisitz

Example of a green seating area, © schönesLeben

Both the supermarket, the restaurant and the café work together with “To Good To Go”. This app allows customers to purchase food at a low price, usually shortly before closing time. This aims to reduce the amount of products going to waste, as they would normally no longer sell.

This also applies to a cooperation with the Tafel in Leipzig.

E: Open space – Recreational activities

You can use the open space adjoining the piazza to the northeast and bordering the playground as a multifunctional space. Children need new exciting play equipment due to increasing online play offers. This is implemented through a multi-purpose playground with various uses (volleyball, soccer, sliding, skating, bouldering). We encourage interaction between young and old and different social and cultural groups with integrated seating.

We design a tartan floor on the playing surface to minimize the risk of injury. The green landscaped areas next to it invite people to picnic and linger. The square also provides an area for public sports and recreational activities. Insect hotels, set up on the edges of the meadow, will provide insects with the opportunity to nest and overwinter. The Insects themselves contribute to pest control and pollination.

Additionally, there will be a freely accessible barefoot path on the site. The elementary school an the day care center across the street can primarily use it for learning purposes. Barefoot walking promotes motor and sensory awareness, strengthens the immune system and promotes blood circulation. Information boards will briefly reflect the benefits and health aspects of barefoot running.

Entrances and staircases

Inhabitants can enter the entrances to the apartments from the square, but also through the courtyard. We will pay special attention to the width of the doors and elevators, so that strollers and bicycles can be taken into the apartment. In addition, we will design everything to be barrier free.

Example for entrances
Example for entrances, © Fensterversand.com

For security reasons, only residents should have access to the apartment building and register with an individual numerical code. The letter carriers have a master key to reach the mailboxes in the stairwell without ringing the bell. We plan two-flight stairs with an elevator in the middle. In addition, there will be video-monitored bicycle storage facilities in the inner courtyard and in the basement.

Sketch for the design of the staircases and entrances
Sketch for the design of the staircases and entrances M 1:50, © self made

Green roofs and facades

Residential areas are often heat islands at night. During the day, the buildings heat up strongly and then release this heat into the surrounding area at night. We want to counteract the overheating of inner-city areas by greening roofs and facades. In order not to damage the plaster by greening, we use steel cables on which the greenery can climb.

Bespiel für begrünte Fassade
Example for a green facade, © Hamburg.de

Furthermore, by using light colors, we keep the heating low. When it heats up too much and cools down quickly, the facade is strongly strained by tension and damage to the plaster can occur. White surfaces reflect sunlight and reduce the heating of sun-exposed objects.

To retain heat in winter, it is important to pay attention to good thermal insulation.

A new home

The piazza is a set of different actors with different demands in utilization. Our concept represents a public space that, in addition to everyday uses, also offers space for cozy get-togethers and recreation.

We create a social environment, which is characterized by diversity and comfort. A sustainable urban design and places, where the urban society communicates, is crucial for livable cities. The brownfield was transformed into a green area that can be used in a variety of ways and implement aspects such as environment, sustainability, recreation, green development, livability, and accessibility.

We design a home. A home for people, their everyday needs, and a place where you arrive, are welcome and feel comfortable.

Share news