Bahndeckel Theresienhöhe

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When the Munich fair moved to Riem in 1998 the city decided to develop its former grounds into a new urban district, called Theresienhöhe. Part of it was a bridge structure from the 1980s which is actually a reinforced concrete slab of 300×50 metres above the railway tracks. The competition’s brief was to transform the top of this construction into a an urban park for play and recreation.

 

We developed a concept which was to emphasise the extraordinary and artificial quality of the place. The idea was inspired by the trains underneath running from the Alps to the North Sea – joining two very different landscapes. Together they form the German dream view according to Tucholsky’s “Das Ideal”, which is the vision of the Alps in the background and the sea in the foreground.

As the limited bearing load of the structure did not allow for massive materials, or for deep-rooted vegetation, we worked with lightweight and quasi-hollow sculptural elements. They were shaped into an abstraction of a landscape of mountains and shores in green and beige, i. e. sandy beaches on the one and grassy hills with grazing animals (the latter being embodied by pommel horses) on the other side. Climbing structures were individually designed, and miniature trampolines sunk in the rubberised dunes’ grounds. An orange concrete rim frames the grass and sand sculpture, positioned exactly over the bridge’s supporting pillars, and invites to sit down.

The clear segments, their distinguishable shapes, materials, and colours structure the park which has become the core of the new housing complex. The space has successfully been transformed into an interactive sculpture which – particularly due to its obvious artificiality – highly appeals to imagination.

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