Wittenberge Masterplan

The project is a concept design for a new waterfront masterplan in the German city of Wittenberge. Wittenberge is on the cusp of significant urban change, reflecting demographic & structural economic restructuring. ‘Activating the Edge', acknowledges these forces for change, and proposes a dynamic new urban precinct to compliment and support the existing city. We propose that to revitalise an urban centre with a declining population it is essential to consolidate its built fabric, and intensify around a series of key public spaces. Central to the project is an investment in the street as the primary site of public life in a vibrant city. The project aims to ‘distil’ the city, creating a series of activated street edges that enclose and support animated urban streetscapes.

This approach is executed through a series of strategic operations. The creation of a new waterfront precinct should be designed as a ‘bookend’ to the city, a porous border to enclose the old city and orient the urban fabric towards its centre. The masterplan should be configured around the model of the perimeter block, with new development concentrated along the street edge. Leaving the centre of these new blocks to lie ‘fallow’ as urban voids makes it possible to ensure that the minimum amount of development is enough to provide for a diverse and activated streetscape. The existing significant buildings on the site can be reconfigured to accommodate new uses. Through a selective intervention and adaption of the existing fabric it is possible to maintain the active life of the buildings, preserving the remnant architecture as a series of powerful and poetic monuments.

Through a diverse range of architectural and urban strategies, we propose that through the selective intensification of development down to an active edge along which the city operates Wittenberge can be consolidated and revitalised as a lively regional centre.