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© Léo Caillard
© Siméon Levaillant

Tempelhof - Columbiaquartier

Since the entire urban doctrine is based on growth, we are constrained as architects and urban planners, to invent new approaches for the territories confronted with population decline. Based on the Senate predictions, the German population will diminish by 2030 by 25%, meaning a drop from 80 to 60 million inhabitants. Despite the hyper-urbanization attempts in the 1990's, the population of Berlin is after the fall of the wall on a constant downward slope. 

In this context that dramatically alters planning strategies, the city of Berlin has launched an idea competition for the ancient airport of Tempelholf with a new type of program: instead of drawing a masterplan, the participants were asked to create a process which would requalify this big biotope in the scope to generate urban activities and increase land value. The challenge consisted in surmounting the contradiction of a large site intended for sale but which had no market potential. 


Our proposition intervenes on two levels: on the scale of Greater Berlin with a reflection on a green network and a denser non-motorized transport network, the leitmotif of this being a green city irrigated by alternative transportation means, which becomes more and more the urban fantasy of the 21st century metropolis. On the scale of the neighborhood, a cutting-up of the terrain is foreseen, in fields on which an array of pioneers can develop: urban agriculture (communal gardens, permacultures, AMAP...), a large variety of sport activities (softball, BMX, skating ring...) and also leisure activities (equestrian centers, beach bars, kite terrains). Our proposition consists of renting these fields for a four year period which would allow a wide array of pioneer activities on the Tempelholf site and attract a population wanting to insert in a green environment while still being in an European metropolis. By retaking the traditional logic of urban planning, through which fields were gradually transforming in building lots, our project anticipates this process and opens today the possibility of a much bigger typological and social variety.

Architects: Florian Hertweck & Pierre Alexandre Devernois
Project Team: P. A. Devernois, F. Hertweck
Location: Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France)
Competition surface: 90 hectar
Date: 2009 (unbuilt)
Landscape Architect: OLM Office for Landscape Morphology (Paris)
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