The park helps to anchor the solitary university building amidst the heterogeneous urban surroundings. In keeping with the master plan, the park acts as a foyer for the Polyfeld – a site for education, research and business – with strategic importance for the district as a whole, while simultaneously serving as a central common area for the school. In this double role, the park stakes out an independent position for itself with an atmosphere all its own, and resists being subsumed as a mere front lawn for the school.
A ring of trees, bounded on the track-facing side by a terrace wall, imbues the park with spatial autonomy. This perimeter ring reinforces the park’s sense of place vis-à-vis the open track area and Hofackerstrasse, and as a tangible counterpart to the school. Moving toward the centre, the tree ring gives way to an open, slightly recessed clearing. The sunken elevation of the clearing, paired with the staggered heights of the trees, creates an atmosphere of spacious calm and retreat that enters into dialogue with the covered entrance portico of the academic building.
The specific uses – such as the wooden deck, playground, water basin and bicycle shelters – are confined to the macadamized or asphalted outer zones of the tree ring, allowing the clearing itself to remain open and flexible for a variety of different activities. Between the outer tree ring and the clearing, the grassy embankments dotted with irregular plantings provide places to rest and recline apart from the large-scale dimensions of the building and the clearing.
Situated between park and building, the open space functions as the hinge between the two elements. With symbolic seating platforms as the sole furnishings, the design strikes an understated tone. The area becomes a central meeting place that links the ensemble to Hofackerstasse. The latter plays a key role in providing access for the Polyfeld, whether in connecting the school to non-motorised traffic or to the public transport network via a new bus stop.
Seating platforms: INCH Furniture