Bahrenfeld Landscape Axis, Hamburg

Client: Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg
Cooperation: Christoph Kohl Stadtplaner Architekten
Activity: Workshop Procedure
Period: 2021
Dimension: 80 ha
Location: Hamburg-Bahrenfeld

Hamburg is a growing city. Consequently, the demands on the existing green and open spaces, with their important ecological, climatic and sociological functions, are also increasing. Hamburg’s “Green Network” forms a coherent network of open spaces that extends from the city centre to the settlement areas of the surrounding countryside. It consists of two green rings and twelve radial landscape axis. The interlinked open spaces enable a green crossing of the dense city, detached from road traffic. The individual landscape axes of the city have very specific qualities due to their geographical location or natural structure. They are watercourses with accompanying green corridors, public parks and a conglomerate of sports areas, allotments and cemeteries.

The Bahrenfeld Landscape Axis

The Bahrenfeld landscape axis is part of the Volkspark axis in the west of Hamburg. It runs from Wallring through a number of smaller green spaces to Volkspark Altona and on to Schenefeld. The section in Bahrenfeld is characterised by a large number of cemeteries and allotment garden colonies. The loose juxtaposition of the sites contrasts with their orderly inner structure. Typologically characteristic elements such as parcelling and linear vegetation elements shape the picture. In addition, listed buildings, a species-rich old tree population and a dynamic network of paths create distinctive places. Thus, the Bahrenfeld landscape axis is a caledoscope of various independent open spaces with specific qualities.

However, the demarcation of the areas from the outside and the lack of links between them currently represent a barrier for the surrounding neighbourhoods. The goal is to expand the spatial networking and strengthen the atmospheric characteristics of the individual open spaces. In addition, the range of uses must be improved and supplemented with contemporary offers. As a result, the Bahrenfeld Landscape Axis is to become a new, city-wide known and attractive section of Hamburg’s Green Network.

The Hamburg Change of Perspective

The Bahrenfeld Landscape Axis has to meet the challenges of the heavily sealed urban environment and provides an opportunity to compensate for the increasing problems of urbanisation. These are in particular the effects of climate change, such as heavy rainfall events, flooding and overheating. For this reason, the priority theme is to be understood in the sense of Hamburg’s change of perspective ‘The landscape axis as an ecological compensation area’. The climatically heavily polluted commercial areas in the vicinity have a low infiltration potential for rainwater. By diverting precipitation into areas of the landscape axis with better infiltration properties, flooding can be prevented or mitigated.

Keeping the landscape axis free from dense or oversized development also has a climatically relieving effect. Since we nevertheless want to visibly emphasise the special found qualities of the individual ‘open space kaleidoscopes’ and promote them as identity generators, ‘The landscape axis as a place of cultural and historical experience’ is another building block of the concept. In order to revitalise the open space in the long term and to design it as a point of attraction, ‘The Landscape Axis as a Place of Social Encounter and Interaction’ is the third focus topic in the ‘Hamburg Perspective Change’ concept.
Change of Perspective’.

The Spatial Concept

In addition to a substantive position on the further development of the landscape axis, a strong overall spatial concept is crucial. In addition, the axis should link the surrounding area in the long term. To this end, the individual subspaces will be linked with each other and the climatic issues will be taken into account. The development of “Science City” in the west and the Diebsteich long-distance railway station in the east will create strong urban development impulses. In the medium to long term, they will lead to a transformation of the unstructured commercial areas in the south into new urban quarters. The open spaces will then be subject to greater pressure of use. They must be spatially linked to the changing urban form, towards a green city. The main spatial elements that hold the forward-looking Bahrenfeld landscape axis together are the forest on the northern edge, the rainwater-retaining “sponge” on the southern edge and a continuous path connection through the entire landscape axis.

The edge of the forest in the north serves as a green buffer to the adjacent industrial development. In contrast, the “sponge”, an extensive retention area in the south, is more open. The new urban area grows from the south towards the landscape axis and is closely interwoven with the landscape axis via blue-green joints. Potential building areas are also located there, but these must necessarily represent climate-sensitive solutions. Hybrid uses are created that can serve recreation and retention at the same time, e.g. in the form of water playgrounds and wetland gardens. Between the two urban nodes, the Diebsteich long-distance railway station and the Science City, and also equally into the Volkspark Altona, a direct path connection is offered through the landscape axis.