Part A of Kaiser-Josef-Platz in Wels, Austria has been opened in 2021. The once large suburban square is intended to connect the country and the city. Our design shows influences from the surrounding area and the history of the landscape, but should retain an urban character. Sufficiently cooling trees, which have already proven to be climate-friendly, together with the landscape islands, form the framework for the urban space, which, in addition to the dynamism that it already has, should also offer space to linger.
The redesign of the “rendezvous stop” for eight 18 m long articulated buses stopping at the same time was the greatest challenge in the planning and construction process. Three different sized roofs span the square and are intended to provide shade and cooling (roof greenery, wood) on hot days. Inlays on the roof, which are reflected in the form of landscape islands on the square, should enable an additional cooling effect through wind movement. In addition, the trees growing through the recesses are intended to symbolize a new era in urban design – “green” is becoming more relevant.
Pedestrians should benefit the most from the redesign in the adapted meeting zone.
The peripheral areas and the bus island have been enlarged and thus offer more space for the strolling players in the room. The roadway of the buses was designed with an asphalt surface due to safety reasons. The mouth of one of the most frequented shopping streets in the city can be recognized by the continuation of the pavement as a “carpet”.
The bright granite stone from the Bavarian Forest, which separates the pedestrian areas from the road, is intended to give the highly frequented square a new identity together with the connecting roof structures.
But the most important things on the new Kaiser-Josef-Platz are the trees and perennials. The trees were planted in raised concrete planting islands in order to avoid the pressure of use in the earth (lines) and the underground car park below. Climate-friendly plants (including native shrubs) connect the square and invite you to rest in the shade. Perennials and grasses were also placed in the plant islands. In addition to the benefit of the flowers, there are also ecological reasons (bees and insect pasture).
The lighting of the square is one of the special features that creates a friendly but also avant-garde ambience in the evening. Led strips under the roof and the under-bench lighting of the concrete plant islands give the new KJ a special appearance. Two fountains complement the redesign. The illuminated systems were an important criteria in the planning process and should offer entertainment and relaxation when viewed.
An increased number of seats without the obligation to consume and bicycle parking spaces promote the appropriation of the space by a wide variety of users and enliven it. The openness of use is given by the holding of markets (farmers’ market) and festivals. The inclusion planning was carried out in cooperation with the Upper Austrian Association of the blind and visually disabled people.
The monument to Emperor Joseph II, who gave the square its name, was placed on its own newly designed square in the east.
Steinkogler Aigner Architects
Kaiser-Josef-Platz 1, 4600 Wels, Austria
Design year: 2020
Year Built: 2021
Area: 8.000 m²
Costs: 6.600.000,– Mio Euro