This scheme for a new building in the Glückstein Quartier of Mannheim begins as a direct response to the local plan requirements for a rectilinear courtyard block development of 23m in height, but deliberately subverts the closed nature of a classic courtyard building, as a reaction to the unique cultural artifacts of the immediate environment. By creating an open corner on this site, we establish a new connection to the adjacent public space between two preserved locomotive sheds, and make this new building an indispensable feature in the developing urban environment. This simple change in geometry creates a literal connection from the interior courtyard to both the new park and public space between the two historical buildings. The resulting network of open spaces helps knit this new building into the rest of the mixed neighborhood, and the generous opening in the building block dissolves the normally introverted courtyard form, creating an interface where the public and semi-public spaces overlap. The landscaped outside staircase in the large opening exists as a hinge between the public square and the park, and forms an entrance portal to the semi-public courtyard. This not only offers a welcoming entrance to the reception, the conference center, and the event areas on the 1st floor, but also inhabitable space for casual meetings on the street. The shifting facade design in the courtyard and the entrance area creates a motif for the open space design. The layered slabs, which look like clouds in the courtyard, differentiate a variety of outdoor spaces, for planting and living, and the landscape follows a series of green, stepping terraces that culminate in an interior garden space.
Size: 18,000 m²
Location: Mannheim, Germany
Client: Stadt Mannheim
Collaborators: URBAN AGENCY, BEMV, Greenbox
Type: Invited Competition
Status: 3rd Prize
Team: Henning Stüben, Heechan Park, Rosa Fuentes Fernandez, Borja Santurino