Kreuzfelder StadtNatur, Cologne

Client: City of Cologne
Cooperation: KCAP Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl Buro Happold Realace
Activity: Intra-Municipal Landscape Planning
Period: 2021
Dimension: 80 ha
Location: Cologne Chorweiler
Contest: runner-up

The team’s concept ‘Kreuzfelder StadtNatur’ focuses on ‘urban nature’. It proposes an ecologically sensitive urban development with a differentiated structure of open spaces. Three climate and green corridors in North-South direction divide the entire area into four quarters. At the same time, an actively programmed green centre spanning East-West connects the new Kreuzfeld district with the adjacent neighbourhood Blumenberg in the East. It divides the respective quarters into two neighbourhoods each, which are connected by a ring providing infrastructure and accessibility. Each neighbourhood contains a plaza with a central meeting point called the ‘Quartierswerk’, which together with an educational institution and other social facilities, forms a sub-centre. Thus each neighbourhood becomes a self-sustaining unit.

The architectural concept offers different types of housing and care units which are grouped around differently sized and collectively programmed inner courtyards. At the edge of the new neighbourhood, a small-scale structure with apartment buildings and townhouses with spacious gardens and ‘experimental fields’ creates the transition to the open landscape. Along the green centre, three solitary buildings for communal uses constitute a string of attractive meeting places towards neighbouring Blumenberg. Also, the arrival by regional train at Blumenberg-Kreuzfeld is improved by adding attractive public squares, amenities and new connections that provide well-organised access to the new nature area called ‘Kreuzfelder Bruch’. This emerging park-like zone is connected to the existing ‘Worringer Bruch’ by a sustainable water management system, so as to create one cohesive nature ground.

The concept of the ‘edible city’ serves as the basis for the programming of the open spaces. Four buildings, typologically known as ‘Landkulturhöfe’, offer room for agricultural activities in their large inner courtyards. Integrated strategies that aim at avoiding flood events and at mitigating heat problems address issues of climate adaptation. A dense network of open spaces with a thoroughly integrated blue-green infrastructure forms an essential component of the design. The traffic concept focuses on the strengthening of public transport and introduces a fine-meshed bicycle and pedestrian network, including facilities such as bicycle parking etc.. In the central meeting points of each quarter, facilities for mobility, logistics, energy and neighbourhood services are embedded in a multifunctional hub.

The energy strategy ensures that green and emission-free energy is provided and that the regional potential of renewable energy is maximised. In this way, ‘Kreuzfelder StadtNatur’ aims to create a climate-neutral neighbourhood that balances the CO2 emissions from grey energy with local electricity production. Above that, the design meets the highest standards of sustainability.

As Köln-Kreuzfeld is well connected, it has the potential to become a regionally effective hub that integrates the surrounding communities in an optimal way. Various established and new facilities such as schools, cultural venues and expertise centre will settle in. The knowledge transfer focuses in particular on topics such as agriculture, nature and sustainable living, and is also aimed at the general public. A network of health facilities is rolled out over the entire neighbourhood, with an extension to the adjacent district.

The ambition of the design team was to look with innovation at the location’s potential in terms of uses and scale, so as to create a variety of models for urban living, attract many different user groups and create an ‘urban nature’ that enriches the lives of all residents. Through urban programming, a special focus could be developed in the areas of education and health as part of an important aspect of the urban concept. The new neighbourhood is characterised by a programmatic and typological diversity as well as by the co-existence of people and nature – through direct contact with the natural landscape spaces, self-cultivable areas as well as the connection to the surrounding natural spaces. An approach that would earn Köln-Kreuzfeld a unique position within the residential landscape of Cologne: as a productive, lifelong learning and actively healthy urban neighbourhood.


All figures: KCAP