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Location Gera (DE)
Date 2015
Status Europan 13 · The Adaptable City

Project team Malte Heinze, Paul Künzel, Sara Lusic-Alavanja, Stefan Lizskowski, Florian Rizek & Salomé Wackernagel · Enter This

The aim of the urban development is to create a place in the centre of Gera that on the one hand connects nature with the city and on the other offers opportunities for a wide variety of uses. The Culture and Congress Centre (KuK), an emblematic building from the GDR 1970's, and its extension via a platform onto the current wasteland serve as an incubator. In the first phase, the area is to be activated; through selective interventions, an urban structure can begin to grow. The desired diversity of use is to be created through simple, flexible constructions that are erected collectively in the shell and can be individually designed in the expansion. Only a small urban investment is needed to build this new infrastructure. If the existing spaces are used and there is a need for new space, the different structures can be expanded and condensed. If more and more space is needed, two large blocks will be created over time. Both blocks have a clearly defined green space in the centre and thus remain accessible to the public at all times.

The Culture and Congress Centre (KuK), as well as other vacant buildings in the immediate neighbourhood, offer spaces for an initial development of the area together with the city's inhabitants. This first central space, designed with a large open staircase, offers the possibility of both outdoor and weather-protected events on the future development on site.

Its eye-catching design and easy accessibility are intended to draw the attention of passers-by to the development of the area. The location lends itself both to urban planning workshops and as a meeting space for debates on the emergence of new economies in Gera. The terrace of the KuK is  rediscovered and offers a good overview on what is happening in the centre of Gera. If the development is confirmed, a continuation of the path to the top floor of the Parkdeck is being considered. Here, temporary or permanent programmes could take advantage of the location above the city and bring new life into the centre of Gera. Among other things, a café, a bar or even a drive-in cinema are foreseen.

 

Gera's inner-city development must be thought of as a spatial as well as an economic scenario. The integration of agricultural factors and the textile industry, which is historically important for Gera, plays a special role when considering the economic situation. One link could be the cultivation of hemp as a starting point for a new branch of industry. Since the central space potential for urban life and exchange between the various groups is poorly used, a new place is to be created that functions continuously in 3 phases. Initially, selective interventions in vacant buildings of the city center will provide initial incentives for new temporary uses. In the further phases, the proposed structures will impulse additional private or public uses and later building projects within the framework of the proposed urban development.An agricultural and small commercial area will be created on the south of the square (hemp cultivation and laboratories), and a mixed-use area on the north side (living, producing and selling products from the research, agricultural and textile hemp industry). An interconnected network of retail, commercial and leisure uses would be created as a dense urban structure. The third phase would provide a large-scale development. The initial settlements form the public access of the final phase, forming connecting links in the urban composition.