The former industrial harbour of Offenbach, a city by the River Main approximately 5km upstream from the historic city centre of Frankfurt, Germany, is blessed with an advantageous location and scenery. Surrounded by water, a new city district is being created. The urban planning concept envisions the strong connection to the water and the existing city, as well as the experience of the rough harbour past as basic design principles. The plaza by the harbour is certainly the centrepiece of the development, supporting the rejuvenation of the industrial site through a mix of retail, housing and office spaces, and positively enhancing the adjacent Nordend neighbourhood through the addition of new, publicly accessible blue-green open spaces. The Offenbach development establishes a total of four, large-scale, publicly accessible green spaces.
▼总规划概览，overview of the plan ©Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
Unique Site Context and Location
▼改造前的奥芬巴赫港口，Offenbach Harbour before renovation ©Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
Offenbach Harbour has the potential to become one of the most exciting, new urban developments worldwide. The site’s location is a key factor. The project site offers a high quality of life for residents, with optimal access and public transport connectivity. Noise and pollution levels are reduced and to the Frankfurt city centre it’s a convenient 20 minutes bike ride along the river Main.
The city of Offenbach has a distinct opportunity to present itself as modern, sustainable, creative and environmentally friendly. The rough charm of the former industrial harbour – with its large, rusted steel construction remnantsand a towering steel crane – is a unique identifier that recalls the site’s industrial roots along the water’s edge.
▼改造后的奥芬巴赫港口，巨大的生锈钢铁结构的塔式起重机伫立在港口，Offenbach Harbour after renovation, with its large, rusted steel construction remnantsand a towering steel crane ©Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
Industrial Past with Plans for the Future
从历史上看，奥芬巴赫港自1900年代初曾是重要的石油、天然气和煤炭运输中转站。但是在上世纪90年代逐渐失去了它的重要性。从那时起该区域便开始寻求新的空间利用。2004年，Ortner + Ortner 设计出了第一个住宅和办公混合用途的城市规划方案，并于2008年开始建设，但由于其很难推向市场找到专业的投资者而无限期延工。
Historically Offenbach Harbour served as a transit point for oil, gas and coal since the early 1900s, but lost its importance in the 1990s. A lengthy planning process began in search of a new concept for utilising the space. The first urban plans were laid out in 2004 by Ortner + Ortner for a mixed use development of residences and offices, which commenced construction in 2008 yet difficulties of bringing the project to the market and finding dedicated investors led to costly delays.
In 2007 a fresh look on the urban design through Ramboll Studio Dreiseit land a positive market development brought the break-through in the development. Since then there are continuously cranes on the site and construction is ongoing.
▼平面图，Master plan ©Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
Creating People-Friendly Open Spaces
We saw these challenges as opportunities, joining the redevelopment effort of Offenbach Harbour with the desire to bring forward the presence, significance and capability of water to be a powerful, positive spatial enhancer within the urban realm. Open spaces are strategically located throughout the peninsula, creating visually stunning, open views to the water front. Our basic concept is that citizens should be able to see and experience the River Main – or, at the very least, be able to imagine its rich forms and patterns upon approach of the harbour area.
▼內湾开放广场是开放的视觉焦点，plaza opening to harbour creating visually stunning ©Heidenreich
A key feature are the wide, undulating wave-like steps that are representative of the rhythm of waves spreading over the plaza. In the early stages of the project, we had conceptualised the idea to create a stage set on the water, using the steps as generous seating for spectators. While concepts for a harbour swimming pool or an indentation into the harbour’s wall edge were not possible to realise, by limiting obstruction along key visual axis and freeing views from the “Nord end” area of the site towards the water, our goal of creating physical and mental connection with the River Main has been accomplished.
Another focal, the main harbour plaza opens towards the River Main instead of ‘turning its back’ to the waterfront, as in the previous urban layout. The concept for the plaza was to create the sensation, while crossing the plaza space, that people were either stepping on a peninsula. This approach required modifying the recently approved construction plan, a task which can typically prove to be difficult. However, the holistic approach to positively enhance the open space system for residents convinced both the Client and local politicians of the proposal’s liveability quality. The results of this controversial effort are visible today as the main plaza is central gathering space and activated through extensive use.
▼宽阔的波浪状台阶是广场一大特色，plaza opening to harbour creating visually stunning ©Heidenreich
▼开放空间的多功能利用，multifunctional pavement ©Heidenreich
A main challenge for this plaza was balancing the creation of a smartly oriented public gathering area that invited and drew people in, while remaining active, maintained and functional, limiting large, non-usable space creation. The northern edges of the plaza are programmed with interactive play areas whereas the south is more commercial in character, providing a plaza space supporting the retail shopping centre land use adjacent.
▼广场临近商业区的水景，waterscape on the plaza near the commercial area ©Heidenreich
The previous master plan oriented the primary gesture of the main harbourfront plaza at the head of the river away from the waterfront edge. Instead, we opted to open up the space and embrace the harbour waters through the creation of graceful, wide, wave-shaped steps gently sloping and draining towards the water.
▼波浪状的斜坡台阶延伸到水里，wave-shaped steps gently sloping and draining towards the water ©Heidenreich
Three infiltration planters cleanse the surface runoff water from the roads before it flows over a surface runnel (located within the street right-of-way) and into the river. Sustainable elements of the project are made visible, tangible examples for integrating sustainability in the urban fabric. Biodiversity levels continue to improve as the area develops. Biotopes provide new habitats for insects and butterfliesas well as thermophilic flora.
▼生物净化，infiltration planters ©Heidenreich
Industrial Past Integrated through Materials and Elements
In addition to preserving the old crane as a heritage element, weaving the story of the harbour’s historical working past into the new development was important and inspired our choice of building materials – rough, robust and durable were key factors. We selected natural, large format cobble stones, ‘rusting’ metal for walls and railings, and textured cement and mastic concrete for pedestrian pavement. Plaza lighting features were developed based upon a standard eight metre high construction beam and populated with sustainable LED equipment.
▼建筑材料选择了粗糙、坚固和耐用材料，for the choice of building materials – rough, robust and durable were key factors ©Heidenreich
▼石制座椅，stone bench ©Heidenreich
▼带有纹理的水泥地面，textured cement floor ©Heidenreich
▼水边步道，提升场地服务设施，water runway, improve infrastructure ©Heidenreich
The Nordend area, bordering the Offenbach Harbour redevelopment, is located at the edge of the city centre, and is composed demographically with a higher percentage of people with a migrant background and low income. Concerns of gentrification and the negative effect of new development regarding rental prices and displacement aim to be abated through the thoughtful integration of civic oriented spaces and facilities for both neighbourhoods to utilise. New job opportunities have been created.
Prior to its current development, the space served a temporary public open space function as a popular beach club, to be reappropriated after the buildings were completed. Further temporary uses were activated as opportunities for recreation and spontaneous social interaction began to take place; the results include the establishment of an urban community garden which was widely accepted by the residents, becoming a successful example of an integration project able to draw citizens towards the water and enjoy the new spaces. The liveliness of these projects coupled with the dynamics of the urban development in Offenbach bear a promising future for the coming years and a good basis for a socially successful and integrated project.
▼吸引市民走向水、接近水、享受新空间，draw citizens towards the water and enjoy the new spaces ©Heidenreich
The park at the tip of the peninsulais currently under development. Standingin the location of the future green area while looking towards Frankfurt, one is surrounded by the physical presence as well as the sound of the harbour waters; this will be a unique open space and highlight for the overall development.
▼未来的半岛公园，park in peninsulais in the future ©Heidenreich
项目委托: Mainviertel Offenbach GmbH & Co. KG
Awards: DGNB Gold Sustainable City District 2011
German Design Award Winner excellent communications design-urban space and infrastructure 2018
Client: Mainviertel Offenbach GmbH & Co. KG
Expertise: urban masterplan, water sensitive urban design, industrial regeneration, ecological infrastructure, waterfront
Area: 20 ha，phaseⅠ 10.7ha