We have spent an entire semester working on the Bayerischer Bahnhof area. After we focused on the analysis of the already existing structures in the area of the Lößniger Piazza in our first and second post, we will now formulate concrete use and design ideas for a neighbourhood for all.
The following synergies and focal points have emerged for us in advance:
In our second post “Activities for Everyone – Creating a Sustainable Mix of Uses”, we put a focus on mixed-use areas. The creation of the design concept emphasized its importance. By planning the arrangement of different activities, we try to create natural synergies of different areas. Our plans take all future residing groups into account and will therefore allow for strong interaction and participation of the neighbourhood.
To give a clear impression of our plans, we have divided the Piazza area into four main blocks, which we will discuss separately below.
Synergy of Retail and Community
in Block I and II
Meeting Everyone’s Needs – Sustain and Gain
A grocery store is set to be located in the northwest of the site (Block I). This will take on the function of a local supplier within walking distance for everyone in the neighbourhood. We plan approximately four freely designable retail spaces in the adjoining ground floors. At least one of these spaces will be based on the “retail gastronomy” concept. This combines aspects of retail with catering for guests (á la café/bar/bistro). In this way, the local retail trade should develop advantages over the Internet and invite people to spend time together.
The other three retail spaces should also strive to represent community and sustainability. For this reason, companies offering second-hand goods (for example, clothing, books or everyday objects) should be the preferred choice. This step against a throwaway society is supported by the oldest as well as the youngest residents. Sustainability becomes the intersection of different lifestyles and stages of life, promoting yet again interaction in the neighbourhood.
In between the individual retail spaces, a stairwell leads to the apartments on the higher floors. This ensures pedestrian accessibility to the local grocer, but also reinforces the feeling of living “in the heart of the neighbourhood.”
Participation in the Neighbourhood for Everyone
In our concept, we have placed a strong focus on the aspect of neighbourhood participation and interaction.
We have planned a neighbourhood office for exactly this purpose. On approximately 70m², a space, that will provide residents with all relevant information and news about the neighbourhood, will be created. Furthermore, there will be the opportunity to contribute your own ideas to the further development and life in the neighbourhood, be it with flea markets, open air events or exhibitions. The neighbourhood office should also be the central contact point for all those who live and work in the neighbourhood when it comes to new projects. The goal is to network various project groups in order to achieve a positive synergy effect.
Intersection between Convenience and Community
Another project that we want to implement to revitalize the neighbourhood for everyone is a Späti. (See Spätverkauf: A small store carrying essential items, allowed to open in the odd hours). However, it will not be located in a separate part of the building, as one might expect, but will be integrated into the staircase. Nevertheless, only residents have access to the higher floors. This will bring the liveliness of the neighbourhood into the residential buildings. A spacious foyer design of the staircase will create a Späti on a part of the ground floor (approximately 75m²) and thus an optimal mix of uses even in the smallest spaces in the heart of the quarter.
Mobility Center “Veloquent”
The third building in Block 2 will be a do-it-yourself bicycle repair workshop. The neighbourhood is traffic-calmed and the bicycle is an important means of transport for everyday life in Leipzig. On 250 m² you have the opportunity to maintain and repair your bike under professional supervision. On the second floor of the workshop there is a bicycle shop, where you can buy new bicycles and the most common spare parts and accessories. This allows you to order spare parts that are not immediately available directly in the bike store.
Community in Public Spaces
in Block III
Families in the Neighbourhood for Everyone
We will establish a family center in the northern part of Block 3. Since a significant proportion of the residents will be families, we are placing a special focus here on our concept. This is intended to promote the exchange of ideas among families in the neighbourhood. Furthermore, it also offers support to socially disadvantaged families in coping with everyday life. In addition, it can contribute to inclusion and interaction in the neighbourhood for all through open offers.
Here we envision a design that is as open as possible, with lots of glass and greenery, in order to make the best possible use of the nearly 200 m² and to keep it open. The centerpiece of the family center will be a large open space that offers a wide variety of potential uses. Again, use by other interest groups is possible outside of the family center’s opening hours. In addition to this open space there will be two separate rooms that are available for Family Center offerings.
On the building where the neighborhood café and family center are located, there is a roof garden that can be used by everyone. The family center can also move some of its activities outside in the summer: the open space in the middle of the piazza is ideal for this, as is the adjacent park with sufficient green space for all outdoor activities.
Chit-Chat by some Fresh Bread
Adjacent to the family center, separated by a staircase leading to the upper floors of the building, a neighborhood café will be created. The residents can use the space of about 120 m² for exchange within the neighbourhood. They can also use the café in the evening. Furthermore, several large tables offer space for various activities, such as senior citizens’ meetings, etc., which can take place outside the café’s regular opening hours. During regular opening hours, the Café is open to everyone and can also be used as a co-working space, among other things, by means of e.g. WiFi that is open to everyone around the clock.
Since space itself is limited, we work a lot with open spaces and glass in the café itself. In addition, it will use plants in the interior as “permeable space dividers.” In the summer, the café expands its space by using the outdoor area located in front of the building, which may be extended to the open space of the plaza. This will enliven the plaza and bring the neighbourhood together outside the buildings.
Canteen – Enjoy Diversity in the Neighbourhood for Everyone
Right next door, we decided to have a food court. This means that several small restaurants will offer a variety of culinary dishes and drinks. Due to the numerous jobs created in and around the Bayerischer Bahnhof area, the food court will be a hot spot to spend lunch at.
On the first floor, there are 4 areas for stands where food can be ordered. At each counter and in the right area of the canteen enough seats are offered to enjoy one’s meal. Additionally, on sunny days, you can sit in the outdoor area of the food court.
The staircase leads to the light-flooded second floor of the food court. There, in addition to 2 additional food stalls, you have the opportunity to get an overview of the piazza through the large panoramic windows. From there you can also reach the bridge as access to the theater “The Box”. To ensure accessibility, there is also the possibility to reach the second floor via elevator.
All restaurateurs have the possibility to store their food and other important utensils in the large storage and refrigeration room in the basement of the building. This floor is accessible only with a key card given to all employees. Also in the basement are the staff rooms and all housekeeping tools.
Green, Clean, Washing Machine!
As another project at the corner of block 3, we will establish a laundromat. On a total of 85 m² residents have the opportunity to save themselves the hassle of owning a washing machine. In the store, there are several washing machines and dryers. One can also purchase detergent in the laundromat and pay for the entire process without cash. People who don’t want to (or can not) do that, can buy codes for using the washing machines with cash in the neighborhood office. This way, not everyone needs their own machine and we create a sustainable way to save some space in the apartment.
Free Spaces in the Neighbourhood
for Everyone in Block IV and VI
For Everyone and Everything – “The Box”
“The Box” is a theater, cinema hall, concert hall, in short: a multifunctional space with an area of 308 m² . On the first floor is the large stage, as a simple black box. This means that it can be played on from all four sides. Seating and the stage can be set up individually as needed. The black box does not need daylight, so it is no problem that the northern front is completely bridged. Approximately 300 people can be seated (taking into account the escape routes and the central aisle).
Behind the stage and on the sides there is space for the technical equipment. Furthermore, there is a freight elevator and a staircase to the first and second floor, which can be used by in-house personnel. This allows access to the different levels undisturbed by visitors. Furthermore, the staff entrance and a gate, which can be opened for assembly and disassembly, are located here. Due to the possibility to drive into the backyard of the box, loading and unloading can be done without disturbing the traffic.
Accessible to the public is the foyer on the first floor, with a checkroom, box office, bar, and toilets. On the second floor, there are two rehearsal stages that can be opened to the public as needed, offices, and additional storage areas. On the ground floor is the actual performance space, the black box. Two large staircases and ramps lead from the foyer to it.
A road bridge gives the foyer a large forecourt that leads directly to the square via stairs and ramps. A tube elevator on the northern facade provides barrier-free access to the three different floors.
The third floor is no longer accessible from The Box. From here on, living and working begin. The people who live here reach the different floors through an external staircase and balcony construction on the western side. Similar to the image pictures below.
Road Networks in the Neighbourhood for Everyone
There are several streets framing the square. Street 1 and 2 are traffic-calmed and only free for bicycle and delivery traffic. We assume that street 1 will be more frequented than street 2, as it is a through street from west to east. We have planned with a street width of 4.5 meters to fit at least one car and one bicycle side by side. So you can stroll along the shop windows comfortably, the sidewalk of street 1 has a width of 3 meters. Cars and especially delivery traffic are free to use street 3. This is where “The Box”, the supermarket, the canteen, and other stores are supplied. Therefore it has a width of 6 meters so that trucks and cars can pass side by side. To ensure that this road does not block the entrance to “The Box”, there is a bridge above it.
The bridge creates a spatial separation between traffic and pedestrians.
Without the street interrupting, the visitors should have space for social gatherings. It connects several activities organically. As seen in the picture below, the bridge connects the canteen, square and “The Box”.
The southern section of street 2 is bridged so that one can quickly get from the canteen to the public space in the center. The bridge creates a pedestrian area above the street so everyone can enjoy one’s lunch in peace.
As the bridge is leading to the box as well, it creates a forecourt to the box foyer on the first floor. The entrance area to a venue is important because the evening already starts here. You meet your friends, you arrive. Have a drink or get some fresh air during the break. In addition, waiting crowds have to find their place. So it doesn’t make much sense to have a busy street right in front of the door. The bridge resolves the problem.
For the bridge construction, we think of a functional bridge, but also of a work of art. It should not be a massive concrete construction, but organic and light-transmissive. We are thinking of a construction similar to the Metropol Parasol in Seville. The bridge connects to the canteen and “The Box” on the first floor and leads to the stand in the square of the Lößniger Piazza.
The square is the heart of the Lößniger Piazza, because it connects the blocks with each other. The triangular surfaces of the square break up the straight and cubic facades with round, organic elements. Connecting everything and blurring borders.
In the center is a 254m² round open space, the “marketplace”. This space is open for any kind of use. We can think of open air theater or cinema, cabaret events as well as flea markets and Christmas markets. We have deliberately left the design of the area open so that the residents can get involved. They should be able to use the marketplace according to their needs and ideas.
In order to have a good view of the marketplace, a grandstand opens up in the direction of the box. However, not only for sitting, because the different step levels are different widths and heights. One can lie here and picnic, but also listen attentively. Due to the difference in height, the bleachers fit into the surroundings like an amphitheater. This grandstand idea is also found to the side of the canteen. The steps there can be used for a quick lunch in the sun, similar to the areas of the Moritzbastei next to the mensa at the main campus of the University of Leipzig.
The southwestern corner of the place takes up the run-out elevation difference created by bridging the street. A landscaped mound extends over approximately 330m². The maximum height should not exceed the height of the bridge. The hill is full of trees to provide view protection for the market area behind it. In the northeast corner, there are water pillars, green lawns, pergolas provide shade and benches invite to linger.
Green Light for the Neighbourhood for Everyone
We want to combine the facade design with the desired participation in the neighbourhood. On the one hand, we envision green facades that illustrate the sustainable approach of the neighbourhood. On the other hand, we can imagine a changing facade design with graffiti for individual buildings. Here, the neighbourhood will involve itself in the decision-making and development process.
Everyone will have access to green rooftop gardens. Offers such as urban gardening can take place here. Institutions such as the family center can also use the space for offerings.
Conclusion – Neighbourhood for Everyone
The focus of our concept idea is to create a mixed-used area. We have tried to reflect this in all blocks and thereby create a lively neighbourhood for everyone without borders.
Our quarter should be accessible for everyone. Everyone should have the opportunity to shape their neighbourhood according to their own needs. Through the created structures, participation and involvement should be strengthened.
Sources: The sources of the imagepictures are linked in the captions, klick on the numbers.