AT HOME IN THE MARKT-PLATZ
open space design for the main square in Neustadt am Kulm, Germany
People of Neustadt have often placed benches in their tiny front-yards.
Given the small size of the community of Neustadt, we believe that the MarktPlatz has to be the perfect platform for the life of the village, meeting and social encounters among its inhabitants.
The project of the new square, introducing the small scale, focuses on extending that sense of domesticity, typical of the private space of the home, in order to animate the shared space of the square.
Given the marktplatz strong linear character, the magic carpet will become a sequence of scenes, an enfilade of outdoor rooms: each of them will be sized to the surrounding urban fabric,
each of them defined by a peculiar surface treatment, by a diverse vegetation and a balanced palette of furniture. It's a finely tuned system of small differences and details, that can produce a wide range of specific atmospheres.
At the highest point of the Marktplatz is a lookout contemplative terrace. the so called "Kulm square" contains a map of the city and its volcanoes engraved in its paving. Ramps and parking spaces, under the terrace don't interfere with the beautiful view.
A wooden staircase set against the natural slope creates an outdoor auditorium, perfect for small events and performances, but also as a place of informal encounters and everyday meetings.
An open meadow connects the square north-south with a slight slope. It also extends the space of the auditorium into a small forest of birches. On the grass are a number of hammocks and a little further a kids' playground and an all-ages outdoor gym.
A stone-paved platform becomes the main space for temporary installations and large public events in the Marktplatz. It hosts the perfect space for the tent of the municipal celebrations and for the stalls of the periodic farmer Market.
This green surface accessible from all sides and surrounding a group of majestic existing oaks, features a long table for outdoor dining. The lawn is dotted with small barbeques, serving the table but also available for informal picnics on the grass.
In front of the City-Hall a solid and institutional paving restarts, this creates a square for the entrance to the building and the info-point in it. On the square is one of the two bus stops, beside a few parking spaces serving the institution. On the backside of the building, a more intimate space hosts a garden of ornamental pear trees.
At the right side of the City-hall is a water-square, thanks to the play of jets and smooth mirror-like surfaces, the existing fountain is reinterpreted and transformed in a playful public space. The presence of steam recalls to the atmosphere of the volcanic kulm. In winter, the square remains active turning into an ice skating ring
A free space, bright white gravel and chairs under the crowns of a few oak trees. More than a meditation garden, the "living room" is perfect for informal activities, for temporary exhibits, an empty site that citizens of Neustadt can shape at will. It's going to be the ideal place in winter, in front of the skating ring to accommodate the town's Christmas Tree.
If the living-room feces the playful water garden on one side, on the other it's framed by the linear gardens. Wooden benches are surrounded by an immersive vegetation, tall grasses and meadow herbs with different and multicolored blooms create the ideal ecosystem for a quiet stroll.
A multiple sport area promotes the coexistence and interaction between different age groups. So the play of children will be close to that of the youngsters and the elderly, guaranteeing the maximum vitality.
A soft mobility hub for those arriving at the Markplatz, is the beginning of the promenade. The concentration of cars in one place is mediated by a high degree of natural buffers, the surfaces are not paved but semi-permeable, and among the cars are various spaces for vegetation.