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Urban and Public Realm Masterplan for city centre Donzdorf, DE // Competition June 2012 // 2nd Prize

A small city in the Schwäbisch Alb

Donzdorf lies between Stuttgart and Ulm, with a long, rich history dating back well over 1,000 years. This fascinating story is inscribed in the city today in the form of archaeological remnants, an intact cluster of historic buildings around the city’s church and isolated fragments of historic building substance. The intimate urban scale contrasts with the impressive hills around which are also an important aspect of the local life and micro-economy as a tourist and leisure attraction. The modern development of the city has left the main street as a busy thoroughfare, and the historic market place has disappeared into the congested main street. The competition called for a new perspective for the long-term development of the city centre, in particular,the traffic congestion problems, Hauptstrase as a commercial and civic backbone, and the absence of a market square. In addition, the scale of several large modern buildings in the overall urban context was questioned and solutions sought.

Our project

Our project reorients the city centre by anchoring it in the landscape, manages the traffic congestion, creates a new and vital public realm and an architecture which is both contextual and innovative.

It achieves these aims using two main strategies:

  • Maintaining vistas out of the city to the surrounding hills, summits and hilltop features, to amplify the presence of the landscape, aid orientation and create a backdrop for the new centre.
  • Create a new urban centre around a reinstated market square using new buildings, strategic demolition, a pedestrian-oriented public realm and additional underground parking to solve congestion problems.

A city with a long history

The historic core of the city around the church, town hall, and the public manor gardens is set on a stone plinth, around which the new city centre facilities are clustered. As well as new public spaces, an urban and programmatic densification reinforces the hierarchy of public space, in particular the Steibngarten and Ledergasse sites. Simonsbach, an underground stream, is reopened and integraterd into the public realm, bringing nature and the landscape through the new centre.

The Steingarten

The Steingarten site is to be redeveloped as a mixed use quarter, with ground floor commercial/retail units under offices to Schlossstrasse, and housing in the collective courtyards behind. The substantial level changes across the site create the opportunity to incorporate large commercial spaces to complement the small scale offer on Hauptstrasse and a public parking garage to ameliorate traffic congestion. The massing and building disposition of the buildings and the use of the existing topography allows large units and and economic redevelopment to be integrated with the fine urban grain of the rest of the town centre.

Main road renovation

A programme of ecological renovation is proposed for modernist buildings along Hauptstrasse, with the aim of giving these significant buildings a sustainable future without unnecessary demolition, and at the same time using alterations to adjust their scale within the urban grain of the city centre. The renovation proposed adjusts the mass and rhythm of the buildings, so that they fit in with the height and scale of the surroundings. The city library / City Hall is given a stronger presence on the street as well a small public square.

Client: City of Donzdorf // Collaborators: Guba+Sgard (Landscape Architect) // Advisor: Staadtplan GmbH (Traffic Planner) // Area: 16 ha