New Branitz Baumuniversität, Cottbus

Client: Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz
Activity: Entwicklungskonzept
Period: 2021-2022
Dimension: 60 ha
Location: Cottbus

The Branitz Baumuniversität, re-established by the Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum (SFPM) in 2011, is part of the initiative alliance “Historical Gardens in Climate Change”. Due to the progressive change in climate, old trees in particular suffer from long periods of drought, extreme weather events, winters that are too warm and increased pest and disease infestations. The resulting losses of large trees are currently drastically changing the park image in Branitz. The aim of the Branitz Tree University project is to preserve the historic woody plant gene pool on site and to breed and cultivate robust and site-appropriate trees using new propagation methods.

The term “Baumuniversität ” was conceived as early as 1846 by Hermann Fürst von Pückler-Muskau. It refers to the long-term tree nursery in Branitz Park, which was created for the cultivation of older, large and distinctive woody plants. This historic Baumuniversität is located in the inner park, in the area of the Schlossgärtnerei.

The New Branitzer Baumuniversität

Following a preliminary ideas competition (2021), FUGMANN JANOTTA PARTNER drew up the development concept for the expansion of the Branitz Baumuniversität. The concept includes the elaboration of three focal areas. The main focus is on the two spatial parts “New Branitz Baumuniversität” in the northern outer park and on the ” Schlossgärtnerei ” in the inner park. The third focal point includes the development of a “Competence Centre for Historical Gardens in Climate Change” in the western outer park.

The first focus is located on the 12 ha site of a former horticultural production cooperative. On the site, in addition to greenhouses for research and breeding, cultivation areas, a cutting area, potential pasture areas, orchard meadows, compost and fermentation areas, a succession forest and a climate arboretum are planned. The development concept allows for the successive expansion of the cultivation areas. Likewise, existing structures such as the intact greenhouses will be preserved wherever possible. Comprehensive de-silting measures as well as climatically enhancing plantings are planned for the area. In addition, all new buildings and the energy supply will be constructed in a climate-friendly way. Where possible, sustainable materials, photovoltaic systems, extensive composting and pyrolysis will be used. By deconstructing the fallow former horticultural production site, a large area of the listed outdoor park will be restored as part of the Branitz park landscape. Furthermore, this reclaimed part of the historic cultural landscape also forms a link to the new cultural landscape in the north-east, the Cottbuser Ostsee.

As the second focus, the Schlossgärtnerei in the inner park will be upgraded and qualified in a climate-friendly way in the most Pückler-way possible. The ensemble of buildings and areas near Schloss Branitz will become a showcase for the Branitzer Baumuniversität. Here, the interested public will be introduced to the project and the topics of climate change and climate adaptation. In future, the historic and new greenhouses of the complex will serve not only for educational work (show greenhouse), production and storage of plants, but also a possible sale and an attractive plant exhibition.

The model project New Branitz Baumuniversität is part of the federal programme “Adaptation of Urban Spaces to Climate Change” and is funded by the federal government with five million Euros. Implementation of the measures began at the end of October 2022 and is scheduled for completion in 2024.