West 8 have been chosen as the winner of the design competition to transform a former horse racecourse in Bremen, Germany.
The 26 jury members unanimously chose West 8 as the most compelling proposal for the reimagining of the 30-hectare site. The final designs of West 8 and the other two finalists were presented on Friday the 17th of June to the jury and a public audience. The winning proposal includes a mixture of water areas, biotopes, sports facilities and woods to transform the site over a time span of around 50 years.
Members of the jury stated that they “opted for the design that accommodates the wide range of interests, which enables sports, culture, education and leisure time” and that “West 8 have embedded everything we wanted”.
The winning design was a result of the participation processes held with different stakeholders and citizens of Bremen, which West 8 participated in to better understand the needs of the site history and the community. In collaboration with West 8, the city wishes to develop the plans further, with the framework plan scheduled for the end of the year.
About the Design
Transforming a former race course and golf course into a lively public park, West 8’s proposal integrates community needs and programming within a diverse series of open spaces. A preservation and transformation of cultural heritage, this reimagining enables the site to be reclaimed and used by the public all year round.
The proposal spans four different levels: The Periphery, the Green Track, the Inner Landscaping and the integrated pathway connections.
Connecting with the surrounding areas and providing a series of robust programmable areas for events, the outer ring of the park is transformed into a welcoming arrival to the site. In addition to the restoration and adaptation of the existing heritage Grandstand building, to be rebuilt true to the original, as well as the introduction of new buildings, services and functional areas. In order to preserve the unique DNA of the place, architectural elements and forms of the Grandstand building are taken into account within the design of the new buildings, from roof shape to colour and materiality.
The Green Track
Utilising the unique structure of the previous race course as a framework, the 2km long Green Track is preserved as an activity zone for people, outdoor exercise and adaptable uses such as Yoga, Frisbee or football. Divided into parcels with connecting pathways, the Green Track also contains a skate park, a pump track and a compact and enclosed sports park within a tree boulevard.
The Nature Core
Connecting to the larger chain of parks in Bremen along the Mittelkampsfleet (stream), the transformation of the race track preserves and enhances the existing water banks and ecology, as well as introduce various opportunities for the public to participate in the development process. At the heart of the area is The Sensory Garden, an intensively planted garden which appeals to smell, touch, sight and hearing as a meeting place for visitors and locals to enjoy. The concept foresees the engagement of the local community by planting and maintaining the garden. In addition, preserving and finding a home for the Draußenschule (Outdoor School) was a clear opportunity from the brief, now embedded along the waterside within the meadow, the Klimawald (climate forest) and the Arid biotope areas for children to learn and play in nature.
Integrated path connections
In addition to ensuring optimum accessibility of the site, the new path connections create the experience of new, unexpected spatial impressions. Following part of the existing route, the pathways divert from the linear direction of the racetrack through the wooded outskirts, playfully connecting the Klimawald, the meadows, the watersides, the park balcony and the sports park within a holistic system. The design also includes two fitness trails – one, 2,000m with 8 stations of exercise equipment, while the second, shorter path is tailored for seniors, with five stations and more seating possibilities.
West 8 will continue to work and develop the plans together with the city, over the coming years. The initial framework plan is scheduled for the end of the year.