The urban riverscapes of the River Neckar in the heart of Heilbronn appeared fragmented and were characterized by spatial obstacles such as roads and railway lines. Many plots were inaccessible and vacant. Triggered by the development of the “Neckarbogen” (bend of the river Neckar) urban scheme on a former brownfield site, the city’s urban fabric is now being re-stitched.In this process, landscape has been playing a most prominent part. Dividing traffic infrastructures were abolished and the urban landscapes and waterfronts unfold as a connecting tissue for the whole city.Existing structures and atmospheres were combined with new elements into several continuous landscape strips: the landscaped gardens of the river islands, the urban parks connected to the new housing scheme, the narrow band of Hafenberg, or the nature experience along Neckarhabitat. Each strip develops its own authentic landscape theme embedded into the overall flow of a contemporary, “smart” landscape imbuing the city.
▼项目鸟瞰，aerial view © Nikolai Benner
Landscape as an overall urban structure
BUGA Heilbronn, the Federal Garden Exhibition, has set in motion a comprehensive rebuilding of the city of Heilbronn, with the “Modellquartier Neckarbogen” housing scheme as a spatial kick-off, completed to one third so far in 2019. New urban landscapes here provide the main qualities for public space and inform overall strategies of urban planning. In the competition entry of 2011, the urban fabric was interpreted in a landscape based fashion, identifying main landscape strips along the riversides of the river Neckar and the “Neckarkanal” canal. They help to strengthen the continuum of the riverscape and to link spaces across existing barriers.
▼平面，plan © SINAI
The landscapes of Neckarbogen
The urban landscapes designed to remain after the temporary Garden Exhibition frame the urban core of the scheme. More than two kilometers open space developments along inner-city riversides have been created or regained from wasteland for the urban public. At the same time, essential landscape functions such as noise protection, stormwater retention, or urban wildlife protection are merged into multi-coded, “smart” landscapes. Respect for the value of the inner-city landscape and the demand to use it economically were motivations to create a wide variety of layered functions and innovative designs.
▼整合多种功能，integrating essential landscape functions © Nikolai Benner
Neckarufer embankment park
Neckarufer embankment park is the local waterfront park for the people of Neckarbogen, but also connects to the historical city centre. Its terraces offer much space for recreational use, but also serve as flood retention area. Some of the sandstone blocks used were recycled from the walls of the historic port basins. New outdoor sports and recreation areas are part of the design scheme as well as historic and existing elements, for example the red brick building of a shipping company and locks.
▼梯田式河堤，terraced river bank © Nikolai Benner
▼新的户外运动娱乐区，new outdoor sports and recreation areas © Nikolai Benner
North of Neckarbogen, Neckarhabitat urban wetlands shows how an experience of nature can be offered in the midst of the city. Terraced floodplains have been planted with shrubs and grasses and will be left to natural succession. A “floating” wooden footbridge 500 metres in length runs across the habitat, serving as a pedestrian connection as well as offering places of quiet rest.
▼500米长的漂浮木桥，floating” wooden footbridge 500 metres in length © Nikolai Benner
▼灌木和草，shrubs and grasses © Nikolai Benner
Karlssee lake features a beach and wooden decks for recreation and also serves as a stormwater retention pond. The lake is connected to the river Neckar via “Wassertreppe” water steps.
▼木甲板，wooden decks © Nikolai Benner
▼Karlssee湖，Karlssee lake © Nikolai Benner
▼河堤绿植，plants on river banks © Nikolai Benner
Same as Karlssee, Floßhafen waterbasin is a reminiscence of the port formerly located on the site, repeating the shape of its basins. In the future, when the housing scheme will be completed, Floßhafen will form the very heart of the new urban development. Stairs and seating steps around the lakeshore invite to rest. The artificial island features a water playground.
▼人工岛，artificial island © Nikolai Benner
▼水上游乐园，water playground © Nikolai Benner
捷径 / 环路
Short Cuts / Circuit
With Felsenufer, the Hafenberg park features embankments of earth and stone rising up to 12 metres, creating an artificial landscaped spine in front of the industrial backdrop of the Neckarkanal. Notwithstanding the constrictions of space, the skywalk on top allows wide vistas into the countryside beyond the city. The walls and gorges make for climbing walls and a vertical playground. Rock fragments and gravel fields on the Hafenberg hill slopes provide biotopes for lizards and thermophile insects. Gabions and vines reminiscent of the river Neckar’s eroding banks tie the design scheme to regional references.
▼12米高的河堤，12 meter high embankment © Nikolai Benner
▼攀岩墙，垂直游乐场，climbing walls，a vertical playground © Nikolai Benner
On the other side of the river, in the existing landscape parks Campuspark and Kraneninsel island with their valuable large trees, new spatial programmes were introduced that react to neighbouring development schemes: the campus of Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences and “Experimenta” science museum.
▼攀岩墙夜景，night view of climbing walls © Nikolai Benner
▼效果图，renderings © SINAI
Project name: BUGA Heilbronn 2019
Completion Year: 2019
Design Area: 40,0 ha
Project location: Heilbronn, Germany
Landscape/Architecture Firm: SINAI Gesellschaft von Landschaftsarchitekten mbH
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead Architects: AW Faust
Design Team: project management: Peter Hausdorf, Klaus Schroll, Bernhard Schwarz
Additional: Sumika Aizawa, Daniel Angulo Garcia, Michael Bolender, Elena Emmerich, Sebastian Exner, Sarah Gnosa, Clara Gusmao, Karoline Haerter, Thorsten Heitmann, Agnes Hofmeister, Britta Horn, Nastasia Kinder, Franziska Krija, Andreas Metzler, Denny Mlotzek, Frederike Müller, Sebastian Radke, Peter Rathmann, Hugo Rodriguez, Ole Saß, Martin Tietz, Jakob Trzebitzky, Theresa Unger, Holger Vahrenhorst
Clients: City of Heilbronn, represented by Buga Heilbronn 2019 GmbH
Machleidt + Partner, Büro für Städtebau, Berlin
Ingenieurgesellschaft Prof. Dr. Siecker mbH,Hoppegarten
BIB Kutz; Ingenieurbüro, Karlsruhe
CDM Smith Consult GmbH, Stuttgart
Photo credits: Nikolai Benner
Photographer’s website: https://nikolaibenner.de/