Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel

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Wilhelmsburger Rathausviertel (Wilhelmsburg Town Hall District)



A high-quality, sustainable, and neighbourly district will be built in the centre of Wilhelmsburg, between Rathauswettern, Dratelnstraße, Rotenhäuser Straße and Neuenfelder Straße, within walking distance of Wilhelmsburg suburban railway station. In future, it will offer a good home both to people who already live in Wilhelmsburg and to those moving in. The central location will make the area a 'hinge' between the newly-created centre of Wilhelmsburg and the adjoining area of the Elbinselquartier (Elbe Island District) with its potential for urban open-space planning.


Competition with integrated participation process


In September 2015 the competition process "Wohnen für alle - mitten in Wilhelmsburg" ('Housing for all - in the centre of Wilhelmsburg') began with a public design workshop. Since then, four teams of town planners and landscape architects have been working on designs for a new residential district. On 9 December 2015 the prestigious jury unanimously awarded the first prize to the design by DeZwarteHond and RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten.


IBA Hamburg GmbH had organised this cooperative urban open-space planning competition by agreement with the Bezirksamt Hamburg-Mitte (District Office Hamburg Mitte) and the Behörde für Stadtentwicklung and Wohnen (Ministry for Urban Development and Housing). It was distinguished by a special, preceding participation process in close cooperation with 'Perspektiven! Miteinander planen für die Elbinseln' (Perspectives - Planning together for the Elbe Islands) and the Beirat für Stadtteilentwicklung Wilhelmsburg (Advisory Council for Urban Development, Wilhelmsburg), and by a public design workshop in September and December. In this way, the wishes of local citizens could feed directly into the competition award and the designs. The decision in favour of the winning design was thus not only reached unanimously by the jury, but was also identical with the sentiments of the local citizens as expressed on the previous day.


The winning design


The design by DeZwarteHond and RMP builds on existing advantages (for instance the location next to the Inselpark, the Rathauswettern and the proximity to the suburban railway station) and rests on four basic principles:


1. City grows from public spaces. The public street areas are given an unambiguous identity and quality. As a result, there is some freedom within the built areas, which makes it possible to react flexibly to the wishes of the inhabitants and developers.


2. A close-knit network of streets and paths generates sufficient 'critical mass' to create a highly diverse district with its own identity.


3. The way the built areas are used is adapted to the existing type of green space and the proximity to public transport: the better the quality of the green space, the higher the density.


4. The built areas differ considerably in size and orientation. This guarantees a high degree of diversity in the architectural transformation.


Based on these conditions, a district will be built that will provide more than 1,300 residential units on around 32 hectares of land, plus a day nursery, student flats, and industrial real estate and open areas. This is made possible by rerouting the Wilhelmsburger Reichsstraße. The road embankment will be removed, except for a few trapezoidal banks, to allow barrier-free connection of the district to the green corridor running along the Rathauswettern from the Inselpark to the Ernst-August Canal. A projecting western border on the built-up area and the extension of the existing Wettern, running east-west through the area, will allow the creation of extra 'boundary strips'. These will widen the existing park landscape, so that the future inhabitants of the district and others living in Wilhelmsburg can enjoy this special quality.The trapezoidal banks are intended as so-called 'joker spaces', giving the future inhabitants the opportunity to decide for themselves on their use and design at a later stage.


The design provides for blocks of various sizes and different building typologies - from terraced houses via typical multi-storey flats to courtyard houses and small detached houses. Each built area is to have a mix of owner-occupied and rental flats. This mixture will ensure a lively district where everyone can find accommodation and a home to suit their tastes and their individual needs and opportunities.

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