Contest Submission

Biotope: Car Park

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Type of Work: Urban Gardening/Park and communal space

The idea occurred when contemplating the potentially conflicting relationship between pedestrians and drivers. There’s barely any place that is actually equally as welcoming to the people walking, and those driving, often (and logically) resulting in the clear separation of both. In the transformation of Place Jéhan Steichen we see the unique potential of bringing both parties together, by challenging our expectations of what a parking lot is supposed to look like.

By constructing vertical planting racks and the well thought-out distribution of them over the parking lot, we’d create a small botanical garden, without interfering with the functionality and safety of the parking lot. The space will invite people strolling by to explore the botanical variety, and get informed about the plants’ characteristics on illustrated information displays, while the view and singularity of the car park will be equally as attractive to drivers.

On occasions, open air workshops can be hosted that make use of the plants on site such as a kids’ workshop to extracting natural pigments from plants and making their own paint, or bundle dye workshops for textiles. That way, an ultimately profane space of a single use would be transformed into an innovative urban attraction.

Estimated time: permanent with option for occasional events
Estimated cost: 15000

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4 Responses

  1. I love the mix of different functionalities: green/ plants/ urban gardening/ food production
    and relaxing chill out area!
    What is the structure based on? Is there a rooftop or rainwater collector foreseen?

  2. Happy to hear that (:
    In relation to the regions industry we were thinking a steel construction, using wood for the seating areas. In case of realisation we would definitely integrate a smart watering system, that could be a rainwater collection container somewhere around the top of the construction that distributes water evenly over time or something similar. Rather than a rooftop we imagine plants grown in a way that those most durable and dense would go on top and those that are fragile or require shade would be planted beneath them etc – symbiotic plant relationships that complement the construction.

  3. The idea of urban gardening generally is a good one.

    As mentioned in other ideas on Place Jéhan Steichen I am afraid that the security issue is not solved: kids + parking cars is the biggest no-go. Even crossing a parking lot with kids is nightmare not thinking about them attending a workshop on a such.

    Maybe lifting the gardening-part to a separate level would be an option? (but this would probably cause problems in terms of building law)

  4. Dear Conradin,
    thanks for the feedback!
    I can see how it at first sounds a bit adventurous, but there is already existing urban concepts that are creating the change from the pedestrian’s view and thus making the drivers adapt – saying, that we believe that a parking lot that prioritises the pedestrian will lead to a more attentive and careful together of both.
    Obviously, it will have to be made sure that good vision of the surrounding is always ensured and that the cars are strictly to go at walking pace (which could be ensured by adding speed bumps across the car park).
    The workshops are only meant as an occasional (or even singular) event, on which the parking lot could potentially be closed down for a couple of hours, like it usually happens for weekly markets.
    Cheers!

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Related Contest Briefing
Located between the City of Differdange and its water sports area, the parking space of Place Jéhan Steichen could be called a transition space. Also historically the open area between residential houses originally built for the industry workers has experienced a transition of various purposes – e.g. as Market Place and location for an annual funfair.  Today the open space is a parking lot which shall also remain its use for the near future. The name giver of the place is Jéhan Steichen (1893-1967) a known local politician and journalist. In our interviews with citizens of Differdange in workshops and...
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Place Jehan Steichen