Urban design Competition Wohnen am Alten Speicher, residential development at Bremen-Vegesack Harbor – 2018, in collaboration with Spengler Wiescholek, Architects, Hamburg,
The competition brief asks for a residential development on the site of historic harbor located in an estuary. The site is legendary for its shipyards going back to Cord Cöper (1639), Johann Lange (1805), followed by Lürsen (1924) until present day.
Meantime the past land-use of “Haven Höft” mall opened in 2003 and only lasted 15 years and is slated for demolition in 2019.
The current brief for the new housing development mandates respecting the foundation and pilings of the present mall structure as well as the line of future flood protection to be elevated.
These constrains were to be folded into the urban design scheme as part of a complex program of a new neighborhood in front of a high-density social housing complex known as the “Grohner Düne”.
The central interior public spaces follow the path of the tributary Schönebecker Aue to its confluence with the Lesum and Weser. The raised elevation of the urban plateau serves as a wharf for flood protection of the new housing program. A terrace overlooking the river and Vegesack-Harbor offers generous public space to play and recreate under the tree canopy. The floodplain area around the warehouse remains open for temporary use and events.
The configuration of the build form provides river views and access for all apartments. The pre-existing basement is re-appropriated as an underground parking level. Communal rooftop gardens on all new buildings complement the access to green spaces. Rainwater is collected and conveyed on the surface and directed to perforated areas suitable for infiltration outside the underground parking perimeter.
The cul-de-sac road Zum Alten Speicher is transformed to a shared surface providing a throughway for pedestrian and bike access to the riverfront of the Lesum and improving the east-west access to and from the park on the dune.
In a less obvious and visible way the underground condition of the former delta is the place of a buried and neglected landscape. A sequence of land uses have piled up on this territory each leaving their archeological residue, some of it contaminated the ground and later projects attempting to contain it. The recent addition of a dead mall adds another layer to the pancake. The current competition brief represents the most recent call for adding yet another layer on the Delta landscape. Since the foundation of the dead mall determined to be kept in place the entire urban design project in consequence i best understood as a roof condition.
An early proposal suggested setting the flood protection barrier back and thereby expanding on the central spine of the existing sheet-pile structure containing the walled underground river since the 1950s remediation.