City planning workshop
The Jahnstraße (Jahn Street) in Pforzheim (population of circa 120,000) has an important function as part of the inner-city main circulation element (the city’s ring road), within the entire system of the city. It is a connecting element between different parts of the city, crosses three waterways, and connects important open spaces and squares together. Since it is the only part of the “ring road” that was realized by Weinbrenner (architect, city planner and master builder of classicism), it has a very high urban significance. Currently, the street is not functioning at its full potential: the street works as a barrier, one side of the squares are used for parking and the experience in the street space is not ideal. With the need to relieve traffic congestion for the inner city, the Jahnstraße should serve as a four-lane high traffic volume inner-city ring road for an intermediate timeframe, while simultaneously improving the quality for residents and pedestrians.
In the course of the workshop over Jahnstraße, the two planning offices that were invited were tasked to prepare an overall concept for part of the ring street, which would formulate an urban framework for further planning. The design principles that were to be created should be able to be used as a repeatable motive for other sections of the inner city ring.
Pforzheim became world famous in the 18th century through its jewelry and watch industry and received a nicknames Goldstadt or Schmuckstadt (Gold city or Jewelry city). The approach for the overall concept used the term “Schmuckstadt” to create organized design principles that also borrowed terms from the jewelry world. The following grouping elements were included in the approach:
• Pearl: circular element
• Gemstone: particular separate rising element
• Ring: connecting element
• Gold foil: squares
• Chain: Façade
• Mounting: underused area
• Cufflinks: single ideas
The Ring Street (Jahnstraße) would be divided, with the help of sequence planning, into different sections that are orientated on the existing section widths of the street. This would create a linear space, which would allow each person moving through the space with different means of transport to experience the repeating sections. A general design principle served as the foundation, which would be varied based upon the sequence and street width. Exceptionally wide street sections would get a median strip planted with trees, endowed and somewhat narrow areas would get a smaller median strip with lighting, and very small areas would not have a median strip. The median strip works as an organizing, connecting and spanning element (it can be understood as a “stepping stone”), which can be used in combination with trees and lighting in the street space, and can be adapted to the human scale in order to make the space appear less wide. The trees and lighting along the street can be seen as pearls that shape the arrangement, and a repeated motive on the Ringstraße. Exceptional light sculptures are the gemstones that have an extra function, for instance a telephone booth, public transportation plan or other elements. These sculptures are located at the end of view axes along the winding Jahnstraße, which mark meaning points and portray another repeated element. We also recommended areas next to certain facades (chains) and underused areas (mountings) in important gaps between buildings on the Brauereivorplatz be redesigned and given more functions with existing squares (gold foil).
The Turnplatz (square) should continue to have its functions as a market and parking lot, yet multifunctional resting, sport and storage areas, a café/kiosk and a bus top should be added. Balconies and terrace seating should be built along the Enz River, in order to experience the atmosphere along the water’s edge. The existing topography at the square would be used as a kind of podium for the Kaiser-Friedrich Street, which would be equipped with balconies, terraced seating, sycamore trees and benches. This would give the market square a spatial closure and distance to the heavily used Kaiser-Friedrich Street, providing a new quality atmosphere. Under the podium there would be room for storage, for example from the market or music practice. The design of the square would be in the southern direction leading away from the Kaiser-Friedrich Street.
In this way the Kaiser-Friedrich Street would not be hidden, but be integrated in the public space and be a part of the square, as well as become a representative city entrance. The newly planned raised area serves as a “city balcony” with a view of the water, market and parking lot.
The Goldschmiedeschulplatz (square) would be extended to the Reuchlinhaus. Through this, the spatial direction of the Jewelry museum would be picked up, which is also the line of sight towards the Herz-Jesu Church. The square would be made of a colored asphalt surface like a carpet, which would be connected with both sides of Jahnstraße. The new square would be framed with water surfaces so that the water that has been hidden in ditches could be exposed and provide a better atmosphere for the guests of cafes in the northeast side. The square would be further designed with a goldsmith sculpture that would be operated with a water wheel, which would spit out water like a gold band. This would be in a form designed and financed by PPP (Public Private Partnership) and would guide pedestrians through a light signal transition.