The state garden show of 2018 triggered a rejuvenation of open spaces in the city of Lahr. As the brownfield sites and agricultural lands were refurbished, a trilogy of public parks emerged on the western side of the city. Distinguished by their unique spatial character, the parks not only offer diverse recreational opportunities for the citizens but also create a habitat for the regional flora and fauna. To overcome the barrier of existing road network, which divides the park into three parts, a new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists has been introduced.
The Lakeside Park
Extended over an area of 21 hectares, the lakeside park forms the largest part of the park trilogy. It is characterized by a newly constructed lake, surrounded by extensive meadows and cluster of trees. The lakeshore gets diverse spatial characters as per its usage. In the bathing area, a sandy beach welcomes the visitors, whereas in other areas a wide reed fringe defines the shoreline. A wooden footbridge gives the opportunity to cross the lake.
The lake promenade, lined with willow trees (Salix alba ‘Tristis’); the lake terrace with a house on the lake; and the multifunctional meadows, which are mostly used for playing and sunbathing form the active core of this park. The 500m long promenade, which extends from the lakeside terrace to Vogesenstrasse and the Lahr train station, serves as the main circulation path. A seating step separates the promenade from the water.
An alluvial forest on the south creates a subtle transition from the park, which is meant for active recreation, to the natural area, which must be preserved. The enchanting forest next to an existing Rook habitat, invites people to walk through the herbaceous understory and discover the small fern islands. The viewing tower offers a breath-taking view of the city across the lake and can also be used for watching birds or animals. The forest along with the marshy lands and butterfly meadows strengthen the ecological diversity of the site.
The Citizens’ Park
Due to its proximity to residential quarters and schools, the Citizens’ park offers a wide range of outdoor activities. It is divided into two thematic zones – play area and historic garden. The play and sport area consist of artificial and real grass fields, a climbing tower, a multifunctional playground, a large playground at the daycare center, as well as a traffic training area.
Archaeological studies have revealed the presence of a Roman settlement in this area. The open lawns of the garden ‘Stadtgarten Vicus’ refers to the Roman gardens, which were found on the backside of longhouses. The brick pavement of ‘Via Ceramica’, which connects the city to the lakeside park, is also a reminiscent of the clay works of former roman settlements.
This Citizens’ park is spatially enclosed by the existing vegetation of the bridge ramps and the newly planted trees. This ‘grove of philosophers’ not only creates a transition from the adjacent street spaces and but also provides a quiet retreat from the noisy sports facilities.
In addition to the Lakeside and Citizens’ park, a large section for allotment gardens has also been integrated in the design.
The parcels available for lease are divided by an overarching color concept. The plots, which are grouped into blocks, are each assigned a color theme. The colors yellow, red, blue, and green are translated into correspondingly colored hedge plants and wire mesh fences.
The meandering Path
A wide path, meandering through the open spaces and trees at the periphery of the park, connects the three parts of this park. At selected points, the edge of the path goes up and forms a bench to provide seating opportunities for elderly people.
This project has been nominated for the German Landscape Architecture Prize 2021.
Other offices involved in the project: Ingenieurgruppe Geotechnik, Göppert Bauingenieure, Wasserwerk Stadt Bamberg, Pätzold + Snowadsky
Project location: Breisgaustraße 37, 77933 Lahr, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Design year: 2011-2018
Year Built: 2018