The Hamburg-based firm received a Special Mention for their proposal, which is based on creating a boulevard that will better connect Mannheim's north and south areas -- and retain their distinct personalities.
Keep reading to learn more about the project.
"Mannheim is a patchwork city, where areas of very different character and typologies are located next to each other. The problem of the competition site in our opinion is not the different characters of the areas north and south of the B38."
"The problem of the site is the extreme separation by the Autobahn-like street B38, that separates the patches like a ripped cloth. Instead of separating the patches, the street should be a connecting element that stitches the patches together."
"The high speed of cars on the B38 is a strong factor of separating the areas north and south of the street. The high speed does not allow any crossing of the street, neither for pedestrians, bikes or even cars on street level. The area seems to be a nameless industrial area that one drives through and forgets about. Our aim is to move the city entrance further outside while giving it a strong identity that reflects Mannheim’s power in engineering as well as its quality of life and living."
"Another reason for the separating effect is the extreme width of the street. Built for the convenience of car drivers, the huge number of lanes strengthens the border effect of the street. Reducing the number of lanes to the necessary, while at the same time separating the directions, we hope to facilitate the crossing of the street and the connection of the areas north and south of the street."
"To change the B38 from a transit route into an urban boulevard that as an 'Engineers’ mile' would become a new representative city entrance, a new building structure is necessary [...] In order to keep the characteristics of areas around while at the same time creating a new representative entrance to Mannheim, we propose an inverse boulevard."
"Instead of creating a clear edge on the sides of the street, a dense and urban building structure is placed as an inlay between the lanes. On both sides, the open structures and green areas keep their character and are bound to each other by the inverse boulevard."
"The new building structure of the inverse boulevard is characterized by a permeable layout between north and south, that stimulates the crossing of the street and therefore connects both sides of the street. The crossing of the B38 on street level is facilitated by the separated direction lanes. With a new traffic system replacing ordinary traffic lights, pedestrians and bikes are allowed to cross on the full length of the “islands” that are created as a middle of the inverse boulevard."
"The inverse boulevard features hybrid buildings. Usages with a focus on businesses that represent the 'Engineers’ mile' are completed with a huge variety of public and commercial use, especially on the ground floor levels as to stimulate urban life in the public areas between the buildings."
"A series of new public buildings on both sides of the street attract people from the areas in the north and south, stimulating the traversing of the street and therefore connecting the areas."
Images courtesy of Kawahara Krause Architects.
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