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Prior to the intervention. The neglected premises of the old station of Turingia in Halle with the old run-down station buildings still standing.

BEFORE

images  (11)

AFTER
 

description

previous state

The old Thüringer station, built in the mid 19th century to the south of the central Halle an der Salle station to connect it with an industrial zone, fell into disuse after 1968 and closed definitively in 1991. With few exceptions, the buildings in the surroundings, both the ones connected with the station in its day and the nearby industries, had been deserted since then, and in many cases were crumbling into ruins, protected by their inclusion in the historic and architectural heritage catalogues. The baked brick facades of these industrial monuments or the carpet of old railway lines which no longer went anywhere, weave the character of the place, tingeing it with obsolescence, but also with a particular charm.

aim of the intervention

In 1996 the city decided to convert the six hectares occupied by the old station into a park and Halle an der Salle Council acquired the land from the railway company Deutsche Band. The park was to be the green centre of a future residential area and the trigger for the general improvement of the surroundings, acting as a magnet for the revival of the zone by stimulating residential and new business settlements in this old industrial periphery.

Before the park was constructed, substantial improvements were made to the local road connections and environmental and landscape measures were adopted along Merseburger Avenue as part of the development programme 'Urban' of the European Union. To raise the quality of the environment without blurring the special features of the site or its history and to do so involving the local community became the basic assumptions of the conception of this project for the park.

description

Through small changes such as the subtle modification of the ground with new slopes and embankments and with a limited budget, the project began the search for a new beginning for a forgotten place amidst classic buildings of the years of the great industrial expansion. The refurbishment and conversion of the area began with the demolition of some buildings and the reuse of others, such as the old coffee factory, which was converted into a house and workshop for young people.

New zones, such as sports facilities, the play area or the rockodrome, were created; designed in cooperation with the pupils of a local school or in association with the local section of the mountaineering club, they aimed to recover the lost activity by guaranteeing, as far as possible, the success of the new installations and their maintenance. The wild plant life that had sprouted anarchically while the area was deserted was replaced by new generation green and trees were planted; many of the rows now mark out the old boundaries of the station in the air. Huts were built and labyrinths of willows planted by children taking part in the workshops.

The project sought complicity between pre-existing and new elements in a project where landscape and architecture were the mediators of change. The old railway lines embedded in the ground became new roads and the railway signals gateways frame the main green track that runs through and structures the whole new park, acting as a way to explore the old railway sidings and therefore the archaeology and memory of the recreated place.

assessment

In the Riebeck district, after the closing down of industries and the station and the loss of population, a park sprang up as a visible sign of the desired change. In the midst of interests which are often difficult to reconcile such as the protection of railway lines and the present uses of free spaces, the charm of what existed and the intelligibility of change, the project made past and present compatible with a solution that is none the less strong or in any way diluted for being intermediate. It shows a sensitivity not only towards the place, but also towards its people, who were involved from the outset in a highly participatory process. The old railway lines turned into a green space have brought a place back to life through the residents as a public area which will structure the future of its setting.

Mònica Oliveres i Guixer, architect

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Rails incrusted into the ground weave new paths over the old tracks area that has now been recovered as an urban park.

technical sheet

CITY: Halle (243,045 inhabitants)

COUNTRY: Germany

BEGINNING OF WORK: 1999

END OF WORK: 2001

AREA: 60,000 m2

COST: 2,300,000 €

credits

AUTHORS:

Heckel-Lohrer, LandschaftsArchitekten, Axel Lohrer

COLLABORATORS:

Beate Benz