urbane gestalt: In 2004 a competition was launched by the nonprofit housing company GAG to achieve concepts for an urban area in the eastern part of Cologne. The winning entry to the competition by ASTOC architects and planners in team with urbane gestalt combines contemporary urban conditions with the 1950s spatial inventory. 17 new blocks of flats characterized by a typical sharp bend are distributed to the area maximizing differential space while using economically feasible repetition of construction elements. Playfully shifting the blocks in angle and position creates a diversified group of buildings and outdoor areas that is updating the given qualities of free flowing space crucial to the urban structures of the 1950s. From north-west to south-east an array with a bigger playground, community space and allotments is situated. This zone is connecting a small urban park in the south and a vast zone of allotments and public open space in the north to the urban area.
The layout of outdoor space creates islands of private gardens around the footprint of building. The private lots are to be entered directly by the loggias or French windows and guarantee distance to the semi public life in the streets and courtyards. The hedgerows of private are characteristic elements, in analogy to the bend of the blocks and are designed inclined, with a variation from 190 cm to 140 cm in height. Facing streets and technical buildings the higher hedges provide shelter. The lower hedges facing commonly used courtyards balance social contact and privacy.
The patios are occupied by small parking lots and playgrounds. Existing mature sugar maple trees, around 60 years old, are integrated in the concept and give grand scale to the new estate. The courtyards of varying privacy maintain freely flowing space quality and at the same time satisfy today’s demands on outdoor living.
Landscape Architecture Office: urbane gestalt
/ johannes böttger
Location: Buchheimer Weg, Ostheim / Cologne / Germany
Client: GAG Immobilien AG (social housing)
Size in sqm: 17.802
Commission Type: Competition 1st prize
– Deutscher Bauherrenpreis 2012
– bdla Sonderpreis Freiraumgestaltung im Siedlungsbau
– Deutscher Städtebaupreis 2012, Auszeichnung
– Kölner Architekturpreis 2014