The landscape architects TOPOTEK 1 has completed a new public space for Hannover’s Freight Station redesigned by AFF Architekten. The station is over 140 years old and is part of the city’s history. After a major fire in 1930, reconstruction began on what was then the most modern freight hall in Europe. Due to the change in freight logistics and the relocation to the road, the main freight station was closed in 1997. After developing a future-oriented utilization concept, it forms the heart of the new district with its newly designed, passage-like traffic and communication areas. The new site has a distinctive present-day character with a strong emphasis on its public program, while the open ceiling and the embedded glass fronts keep the character of a hall.
© Hanns Joosten
Two questions were at the heart of the landscape concept: on the one hand, the question of how to create a meaningful transition from the previous use to the new requirements with a contemporary design; on the other hand, the question of how leisure activity and infrastructure could be effectively linked. The generous open spaces convey functional needs and aesthetic requirements. With careful consideration of the site conditions, a hybrid program was drafted in a clear design language. The individual areas are visually linked by a continuous graphic pattern of white stripes on a dark background. Vertical elements such as walls, stairs, and retaining walls were made of black concrete, creating a tense contrast to the historic façade of the building.
The layout for the outdoor facilities is simple, durable, and functional. As an extension of the building with its austere scheme palette, it complements the defined form language that marks the whole complex. The monochrome black and white pattern creates high recall value, updating the industrial character of the area. Referencing streets and industrial furnishings, past and present urban contexts flow into the newly created site and define it as a functional and legible space. Establishing multiple options for leisure and activity, the facilities of the former depot constitute an attractive urban hub.
In a continuous cross-over, the inner and outer spaces accentuate the lucid and open expression of the grounds and combine all parts into a fully coherent space. For the purpose of a unique, identifiable profile, all sites including the inner shopping and food mall are visually connected by the same graphic pattern using white stripes on smooth dark paving. This paving also clearly indicates the public areas of the complex in contrast to the private spaces and business sections. The outdoor areas further anchor the rather unobtrusive building in the wider public realm.
© Hans Christian Schink
DATE: 2016-2019 / LOCATION: Hannover, Germany / AREA BUILDING: 22.693 m2 (built) / AREA OPEN SPACE: 9.700 m2 / PROGRAM: Mixed Use – Leisure, Recreation, Trade / STATUS: built / DESIGN: AFF Architekten (Architecture) + TOPOTEK 1 (Landscape Architecture) / CLIENT: Aurelis Real Estate Service GmbH / PHOTOS: Hanns Joosten, Hans Christian Schink