DATE: 2009
M.O.: Europan - Mairie Heidelberg

M.O.E.: SKP Architecture + Amelie Fritzlar + Chloé Duperche
LIEU: Heidelberg - Allemagne

CHARGE DU PROJET: Jonny Sturari / Johan Kohls

SURFACE PLANCHER: 6 Ha
PHASE: CONCOURS - Europan 11

The chosen project area is situated at the university campus Neuenheimer Feld in Heidelberg. The river Neckar passes through the town and imparts a very attractive vision to the surrounding landscape.

 

The historical center is located on it’s south side, whereas the large univerity campus is far-scattered on it’s north. Actually there is no visual relationship between the inner city and his well-established campus, such as there is no inner connection between the different parts of the project-area. There are two “environments” (science and leisure) which exist side by side but don’t coact.

 

The project idea goes after linking the existing structures by the creation of connecting elements, such as green areas, sportive equipements, water- basins and urban spaces. New activities and “hot-spots” will also be included for the purpose of adding missing cultural or leisure equipements as well as relaxing zones with beautiful overviews to the surrounding landscape. The traffic is translated to the borders of the intervention area; bicycles path and pedestrian walks define the circulation.
  
The project should be seen as a discovery walk that starts from the Ernst-Walz-Bridge near the historical town. From it’s river bank, the new infrastructures can be perceived in some strategic points in order to inspire people's curiosity.

 

A huge totem, an open air theatre, overhanging terraces, the center of biodiversity and wind turbines for ecological energy generation are some of the features what will determine the new Neckar waterfront. The idea is to preserve the rich vegetation stock, whereas the architecture is either placed in between or freely suspended on the hillside of the river.

 

The new urban intervention is signalized first at the northern part of the Ernst-Walz-Bridge, right next to the “Römerbad”. A huge totem separates the road from the green leisure area. It helps to make that zone less noisy and accommodates learning spaces and a sky bar with views over the town and the revitalized campus.

 

The space under the bridge comes to a new life. Swim basins, a diving platform, a boat sports club and a terrace with it’s cinema screen ought to animate the visitors to sports activity and define the starting point of a walk along the Neckar where people can discover new learning and playing features.

 

The waterfront can now be used by bicyclists, walkers and disabled persons and people on skates or rollerblades. Several sport games and a fitness center are available for everybody. Urban funiture with wifi can be used as studying spaces for students and professors. Overhanging terraces invite to have a break and enjoy the view to the historical town.

 

A few minutes by walk, people can join the open air theatre. This building is another landmark of the project as well as it qualifies the arrival of the “Campus-Boulevard”. People walk along natural guidelines: new visual connections and “green ribbons” are joining scientific spaces and leisure accomodations. Along the boulevard there are a lot of activities linked to the university. Those additional activities are composed by temporary and permanent exhibitions, seminar rooms, auditoriums or cinemas, relaxing areas and parks. The botanical garden is revitalized by new exhibition halls. Student housing and hostels are located between the boulevard and the extention of the zoo.

 

The waterfront opens out into the new entry of the zoo and the centre of biodiversity. The latter building includes a huge aquarium with a wide range of species. The first basement level is placed just under the Neckar water level. From the inside the visitor can look through the aquariums so the river becomes the natural extention of basins. On the rooftop a large observation platform offers great views over the zoo. The different areas and animal housings can be reached by a bond bridge that  leads to the riverhouse with it’s great restaurant and another observation platform that defines the end of the intervention area.

 

The urban project intents to help science and leisure benefit from each other. The revitalization with all new functions becomes the show window of science. Each environment, leisure and science, has its’s own location; they come together in special interaction spaces where both function can merge. One place cannot be isolated of the others. They communicate visually and physically. The result is the reanimation of  the neighbourhood life.


For example, people can work in the university, have a break and go swimming, then meet some collegues in a beer garden. Or, they listen to a lecture, play foot for an our on the waterfront and go later to a play at the open air theatre. They can also take a bicycle, pass in front of seminar rooms, where people are working, then stop on one of the bicycle stations and see a new exhibition at the botanical garden and come back to the bridge where they can rent a boat. The university is no more only a place for study or work, it is a place where people can stay and enjoy a large number of facilities, where people of all ages and different contexts meet and dialogue, inspired by the new environment.