The formerly industrial Alfons-Kern and Emma-Jäger-Areal of Pforzheim are transformed into a lively mixed-use area with a formal expression that conveys the spatial heterogeneity of its bounding context. As if washed ashore by the River Enz to its south, the new development containing a mix of apartments and workspaces above and public commercial space below fills large voids on the riverbank and adapts to the adjacent urban form. The two separate building plots are unified across the Theater-Strasse “shared space” with a strong and legible tectonic language for the twelve mixed-use structures and a cohesive landscape strategy that reinforces the identity of the entire development as well as north-south connectivity between the urban centre to the north and tranquil river to the south.
The design takes into account the diversity of existing constructions that characterise the site and configures the new development into a hybridisation of closed and open blocks, with two blocks allocated per building plot. A continuous ground floor unites the three mid-rise structures of each block; its green roof becomes an elevated terrace for tenants of the residential and office space above. Each mid-rise has a different height, ensuring a diversity of views from within and a dynamic perception from the surroundings.
The structural approach to each block makes clever use of mass timber construction over a concrete plinth. The arrangement of apartments emphasises corner spaces that offer light from two sides; a wide variety of resulting unit types caters to an array of residents and lifestyles. The consolidation of load bearing components to walls stemming from the core also opens up the exterior to be fit with a patchwork array of outdoor spaces—one for each unit—which further extends the stunning views over the river and neighbourhood and creates a more vibrant façade.
Club rooms on the terrace floors look down into the courtyard gardens, which share a planting and furnishing palette with the landscape of the meandering passageways between and surrounding the new buildings, including three new public squares on the riverfront. The uniform approach strengthens the sense of community between functions and complements the pastel-coloured timber claddings of the new buildings to increase the attractiveness of the whole area.