The Concept

The task was to completely redesign the Rudolf Square (named after a local knight) and the surrounding streets as well as to create a rainwater retention system and an island of cool microclimate in a dense city neighborhood. To do this, the square was reimagined in two parts as Knight Rudi’s Castleland playground and Knight Rudi’s Green Valley park.

The playground and the park area are connected and enclosed by a circular path. It allows traffic-protected walking, running, and skating. The playground rises topographically to create an exciting playscape and the central lawn of the park is sunken to enable a rainwater retention pool. A coherent activity landscape for all age groups creates a feeling of community for all residents.

The public participation

Before the detailed planning started, a participation process was initiated in which everybody could come up with ideas. It was important for children and young people to be able to submit their designs independently of each other and their parents. More separate workshops for different age groups were organized. All drafts were then presented to the public at a big planning party and all those present were allowed to vote as to which ideas would fit best into their neighborhood.

The playground

The playground Knight Rudi’s Castleland is divided into several play areas. It is designed to provide joy and activities for children, but also their parents and grandparents.

The adventure starts on the Knight’s Castle which is intended for younger children. The area is designed as a sand play area. A water pump on a concrete hill turns it into a water playground, inviting children to mud in the sand. A ground trampoline completes the play possibilities.

Across the Knight’s Castle is a 1,5 m high Dragon’s Mound. This area was designed primarily for older children. The dragon’s wooden nest enables more challenging adventures with various climbing possibilities in form of nets and ropes. A slide can be used to quickly escape the dragon.

In addition to the existing football pitch play is possible in the Knight Rudi’s Quarry with 3 concrete climbing rocks and in the magical Forest under the existing, old linden trees with a hammock to rest and a course on stilts to climb and balance.

A calisthenics course and a ping pong table offer young people and adults a place of their own, but entirely separated from the children. Sufficient seating options have been created throughout the playground to relax and rest such as various benches and a wooden platform.

The green space

The characteristic of the park is a multifunctional orange concrete belt that encircles the central lawn. It runs at different heights, sometimes narrower sometimes wider. It frames the sunken water retention basin, enables seating, and prevents the cyclists from directly crossing the lawn which would disturb and endanger other users.

At one point, the belt makes a curve to go out of the way of an existing linden tree. This forms a sun balcony with sitting possibilities in the sun as well as in the shade. A long table with benches made of heavy wooden beams allows larger group gatherings, such as birthday parties, to happen.

The multifunctional streets

The neighboring streets are planned as ‘climate streets’, partially or completely free of motorised traffic. Together with the research project BlueGreenStreets a concept was designed that allows a complete infiltration of rainwater in the street space via vegetation areas. Through evaporation and shading, a cooler microclimate is created.

In case of heavy rainfall, the excess water from the streets is led into the park where it gathers in the sunken lawn basin and is infiltrated into the ground. The redesign of the streets is still waiting to be built.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape (if any): BlueGreenStreets Research (3rd phase)

Project location: Rudolfplatz, 10245 Berlin, Germany

Design year: 2017

Year Built: 2021


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