Name of Project: Bürgerpark auf der Hafeninsel Year or Construction: 1985-1989 Location: Saarbrücken, Germany Architect: Peter Latz
- Programme and project intentions: Reaction of the building and the impact on urban context
The site is positioned over nine hectares of land next to the river Saar. It was previously a coal harbour but became unused after being largely destroyed during air raids of the Second World War. Subsequently the majority of the site began to be used as a dumping ground for building rubble and the remaining land became a car park. This remained the case for a number of years, but in the 1970s a bridge was proposed to be built across the river Saar. The Northern end would rest on the site; therefore Latz was recruited to develop the landscape, which at the time was in a very poor condition, rundown and massively overgrown.
- Idea of construction of the project: An overview of technology, the program and the materiality
Latz and his team proposed three different concepts. The first of which was the “landscape garden” embracing nature through the use of trees, valleys and lakes. This was later rejected as it was believed that the site was too small for this design to successfully fulfil its potential and the large structures that were currently in the landscape could not be easily disguised, detracting from the natural feel. The second was the “geometrical ordering structure” which would have large trees, wide avenues and follow the urban layout. This was also disregarded as it would not provide any resistance against sound pollution from the city. The third option, known as the “syntactical design”, was selected. This design turned its back on traditional urban parks and embraced the historical aspects of the site wherever possible to create public gardens, interesting site lines and easy public access. One of the key elements of the landscape is the large brick gateway structure that stands in the middle of a lake and can be reached by a bridge that passes through the archway. It is particularly important in this design as it is not only an impressive construction; it also collects the surface and drainage water from around the park. The water is then pumped up the wall and released at various heights creating a striking centre point to the park. This also allows the traffic noise from the city to be overshadowed by the falling water and purifies the water before returning it to the river. Another prime feature in the design was to leave a number of fields empty, sectioned off with the ruins of brick walls. This was to allow people living nearby and student groups to leave their own mark on the landscape by having a space to design, making it more personal and linking the park closely to the users.
- Critical review of the work and the projects approach and results achieved
This project is highly successful in creating a public landscape using the existing ruins to reveal the history of the industrial site. The approach of incorporating the ruins into the design whilst maintaining a modern atmosphere works particularly well on this previously abandoned site as it now a key part of the city. Bibiliography Between landscape architecture and land art, Udo Weilacher, 1999 Syntax of Landscape: The Landscape Architecture of Peter Latz and Partners, Udo Weilacher, 2008 Changes in Scenery: Contemporary Landscape Architecture in Europe, Thies Schoder, 2002