Exhibition „Hagenmarkt – Platz der Zukunft“ Architecture students enrich debate on redesign of Braunschweig square
Since 22 July, design ideas for a sustainable transformation of the historic square have been on display in the church of St. Katharinen on Braunschweig’s Hagenmarkt. The designs were created as part of a compact design in autumn 2021 at the Institute of Landscape Architecture at Technische Universität Braunschweig. For four years, the Hagenmarkt has been the focus of the urban public’s attention.
After the autumn storm Xavier destroyed many trees on the Hagenmarkt in 2017, the city administration initiated a participatory process with citizens for the redesign of the square. This led to controversial discussions, especially about the importance of motorised traffic and the proportion of greenery. In April of this year, the city finally announced an open space planning competition, the results of which are expected to be presented to the public at the end of September.
Making the potential of different uses of the square visible
The designs of the Braunschweig students now on display in the St. Katharinen Church were created in autumn 2021 at TU Braunschweig’s Institute of Landscape Architecture (ILA). They do not intend to forestall the competition that has now been announced, but they do impressively demonstrate the wide spectrum of possible designs that arise when the wishes and suggestions of citizens are taken on board and combined with the challenges of climate change and the careful consideration of existing buildings. The criterion of resilience plays a central role in all the designs – that is, the challenges that arise in inner-city open spaces in the face of increasingly extreme temperatures, droughts, storms and heavy rainfall events.
Questions for urban coexistence
Should the urban be experienced at Hagenmarkt, i.e.: diversity, chance encounters, confrontation of public interests? Or should a balance be created to the challenges of a city? Which fixed settings allow for versatile appropriation, a communal coming together, a high sojourn quality for the most diverse users, for play and recreation? How can a place cut up by traffic routes be perceived as a coherent square? What presence do we give to retention areas that react to heavy rainfall events? How can climate-improving urban greenery be combined with respect for historical references? – The students’ answers to these and other questions range from the emphasis on the square as a stage for urban life to the multifunctional, openly playable space to the park-like sanctuary. The spectrum of these ideas illustrates which requirements can be combined with each other and which may overtax the place.
About the Institute of Landscape Architecture (ILA)
The Institute’s teaching and research are focused on the design and application of strategies for the sustainable development of places in urban and regional contexts. Sustainable – this means both responding to the needs of a dynamically changing society and taking on the challenges of climate change. In particular, courses on places that are the reality of students’ lives help to enrich the analytical, planning and strategic skills of future experts with a sensitivity for the concrete socio-cultural and economic context.