German Landscape Architecture Prize BDLA 2015/2016: Commendation
The city of Mönchengladbach is located in the Lower Rhine region in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The centre of its Rheydt district is characterised by sober post-war buildings. On the newly designed marketplace, the main features of the cityscape are the Evangelical church from 1902 and the picturesque façade of the Old Town Hall. Inspired by the idea of creating a new and attractive ‘living room’ for the district, the design places a carpet of colourful natural paving stones over the square, distributed in an intentionally arbitrary manner. The large open space emphasises the Old Town Hall and provides enough space for market stalls and the annual funfair with its bulky rides.
Through its coherency and clear division of uses, the space gains a refreshing new structure, breadth, and openness. A circular bronze fountain with a rushing jet of water is the only focal point on the square, catching the eye and exhibiting a noble appearance all year round.
Either side of the central ‘carpet’ are raised terraces, from which one can observe the colourful hustle and bustle on the square. Visitors and locals can enjoy a cup of coffee under the cherry-blossom trees while gazing over the islands of grass and the blue sky. Meanwhile, children can delight in playing in the fountain’s cool water.
DETAILS & MATERIALS
The selection of high-end materials, such as natural stone, fair-faced concrete, and bronze, as well as small-scale fittings, makes an exquisite impression. All of the necessary technical infrastructure is fully concealed underground. A well-thought-out lighting concept lends the square a pleasantly mild atmosphere in the evenings.