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Obertorplatz, 72379 Hechingen
The project: the Obertorplatz in Hechingen
The approximately 9,000 m2 sized Obertorplatz is located in the heart of the city of Hechingen and is the connection between the Fürstengarten of the Villa Eugenia and the Marktstraße, where the city’s listed town hall is located. The square was redesigned several times in the course of history and finally took the shape of a large, asphalted area. The area to the west was a large parking lot. Public, social and cultural interests have so far had to yield to those of road traffic. Only two cafés and two lonely trees characterized the picture, whereby the copper beech had already been attacked by a fungal pest. Thus, the desire of the people of Hechingen for a striking change became more and more intense: The Prussian administrative town longed for a new, central place to stay as a meeting point for young and old, for lingering and observing, enlivened by plant greenery, trees and water elements. The historic square was to become the “city lounge” of Hechingen.
Thus, the direction for this project crystallized quite quickly. On the one hand, a highly attractive square was to be created. On the other hand, it was important to listen to the opinions and wishes of the residents, to involve them and to take them into account in the planning.
Accepting and mastering challenges
The main road ran directly along the southern façade of the square, and until then took away any opportunity for pedestrians to take a break in the sunshine. This had to be changed. It was agreed to redirect the traffic and to reduce the prescribed speed limit of 50 km/h to 20 km/h. After all, the new square should provide space and safety for visitors and locals of all ages.
Water: a central element
The element of water, in all its variety, is of great importance to the new Obertorplatz. There is not only a historic fountain and a field with 28 water fountains, but also a stream that springs from a water table made of natural stone. This delights many frolicking children every day. The sponge city with water retention system in principle incorporates the rainwater into the cycle and thus offers an advantage for the urban climate of Hechingen: higher evatranspiration, more shade from trees, lower surface temperatures, lower fine and coarse dust pollution. The required technical equipment is housed underground in a chamber and thus does not detract from the appearance.
The choice of materials: durable natural stone
The selected gray-yellow granite, supplied by the Berlin Steincontor, reproduces the color of the Swabian Alb – the yellow of the Jura is distinctive. In addition, according to Mr. Johann Senner, it should be a solid, frost-resistant and road salt-proof material. After all, the town square should be sustainably designed and last for several decades, possibly even centuries. These requirements can only be met by a hard stone. So the choice was easy – belgrano® natural stone was the solution. Since BESCO voluntarily compensates all transport-related C02 emissions, all natural stones could be delivered climate-neutral.
The Obertorplatz in Hechingen is very diverse. It knows a lot, it knows young, it knows old, it knows children, it knows boys and it knows girls ... it is for a diverse urban society the "city lounge". At the same time, it is sustainably planned and will hopefully bring joy to many people for a long time to come with its plant diversity and integrated water cycle.
Design elements ● Pedestrian zones & city squares