Platz der Ideen

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As often, it started with an idea, maybe scribbled on a napkin and as such it also happened in our case. For years, we had a feeling that this underutilized pedestrian underpass in the heart of the city is not used to its best potential. This particular place not only impresses with its urban atmosphere, but also, thanks to its central location, has the potential to function as a strategic city link. It connects the city centre and the Maille Park with Oberesslingen and along the Hammerkanal with Merkelpark and Neckar.

We propose to revitalize this underutilized infrastructure space and transform it into a vibrant urban “Place of Ideas” for the people and the city of Esslingen. We want to establish an urban city square and a pop-up laboratory, where people meet and create ideas. The space should become a creative platform for collaborative experimentation, communication and learning, a laboratory for research, an artist studio and a performance space to try out and express oneself artistically. The centrepiece would be a central open event space, covered with a pneumatic roof sculpture, which invites to debate, perform, play and celebrate together.

The Place of Ideas is intended to offer interested people in Esslingen the opportunity to experiment collaboratively. In particular the younger generations are invited to develop interests and exchange ideas among each other beyond the school system. They can develop scientifically and artistically and engage in social activities. Local partnerships and patrons from the industry, educational sectors, art, youth work and culture are to be involved in order to shape and mentor the project. Local businesses should be taken on board for sponsoring and implementation. In phase I, the project could be integrated into the summer activities of the city of Esslingen through a temporary event, while in phase II we see the potential of a permanent function.

The Place of Ideas is not only to become a contemporary and attractive landmark for the city of Esslingen, but also to promote engagement and to actively shape urban life with a diverse range of ideas and activities. Its pneumatic sculpture projecting out of the central square, illuminated at night, stands out as a new identity-defining symbol for a modern, open-minded and imaginative city of Esslingen. To conclude with the words of the Mayor, “A city consists of more than stone.”

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  • Client: Own initiative
  • Location:  Esslingen, Germany
  • Year:  2017
  • Task: Concept development, Funding stage
  • Status: Concept phase
  • Programme: Event pavilion and public space
  • Area: 700 m2 GFA