The City of Backnang in southern Germany has launched an international competition to redevelop a 17ha brownfield site
It seeks proposals for a new ‘high-density urban neighbourhood’ on the site of a former industrial complex which closed seven years ago. The project will serve as a showcase for the International Building Exhibition 2027.
The competition is open to teams of architects, urban planners and landscape architects, up to 12 of which will participate in the design competition after an initial call for sketches. In addition, six teams have been pre-invited to participate: JAHN of Chicago, Netherlands-based MVRDV, Herzog & De Meuron of Basel, KCAP from Rotterdam, Denmark’s Cobe, and Munich outfit Steidle Architects.
In its brief, the city says: ‘The development of the areas between the Murr river and Wilhelmstraße / Fabrikstraße / Untere Au that were formerly used for industry is a unique opportunity for Backnang’s urban development into a productive town of the future. The area is 16.7ha in size overall and comprises the sites of several landowners with historical manufacturing buildings that are worth preserving and are to be integrated in the overall plan.
‘The project has the potential to create a new, high-density urban neighbourhood and to connect it to the existing town centre. Modern forms of mixed-use with spaces for culture, education, forms of community-based housing, retail and special open-space qualities with a connection to water should also make the existing town centre more attractive.’
Backnang is 30km north of Stuttgart with around 37,000 inhabitants. The contest site was originally a mill before being transformed into a large automotive complex in the 20th century. More recently the area has been used as a business park and for a leather factory which closed seven years ago.
The 30-year project will transform the district into an environmentally friendly light industrial and residential neighbourhood featuring educational and cultural facilities. The development will be part of Germany’s International Building Exhibition which has been held since 1901 and will focus on Stuttgart in 2027.
Proposals should feature an overall guiding principle for the area, consider the density and mix of uses, harness innovative construction techniques, and propose new neighbourhood models featuring radical approaches to public space, accessibility and mobility.
Applications will be judged on their creativity and innovation, coherence of ideas, presentation of vision and viability of concept. The selection committee includes Munich-based architect and city planner Gunther Lau, Biberach-based architect and city planner Ute Meyer, and Christof Luz, a landscape architect from Stuttgart.
The 18 teams selected for the competition on the basis of their sketch submissions will each receive €2,000 to participate in the second phase. The overall winner will receive a €48,000 prize and there will also be a second prize of €30,000 and third prize of €18,000.
Submissions may be in English or German and the deadline for applications is 4pm local time on 4 June.
How to apply
City of Backnang
Am Rathaus 1
Tel: +49 71176963933