The Gartens of Billerhuder

Hugh Haran, Andrew Harris

Moritz Schreber started the Schrebergarten movement in the mid 1800’s, with the intention of making people aware of the inherent value of gardening and outdoor activity. The Schrebergartens on the island of Billerhuder, East of Hamburg city centre, were formed in 1921. After the destruction of Hamburg in 1943, a scarcity of food and housing led to the establishment of new allotments on the island.
Today, new inhabitants have to abide by particular rules to avail of an allotment lease – they are not permitted to live on site as permanent residents and are not allowed to ‘winterise’ the dwelling. This culture of inner-city, low density, hinterland is in high demand amongst the citizens of Hamburg. Furthermore, due to an increased demand for new inner city residential developments, through the Chamber of Commerce, the city has put forward proposals to turn Billerhuder into a new mixed residential and industrial quarter.
This project offers an alternative. Billerhuder Insel will offer inspiration, and take part in generating new opportunities for the people of Hamburg to collectively enjoy weekend leisure pursuits. Architectural interventions to the south will reflect the nature of the island; an expansive new infrastructure, a series of paths and gardens, will allow people to wander and enjoy the water’s edge. Arts and crafts workshops will offer a social counterpoint to the introverted Schrebergarten huts. These are key nodes which will take advantage of the industrial resources in place, to change the nature of a single-use industrial landscape; and offer places of interest to the city-dwellers where they can escape their nine to five and explore and adopt new pastimes.

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Re-rooting Birkenhead

Georgina Wileman Justin Lean Huang Tan Joe Kelly

The project responds to Birkenhead’s existing urban context characterised by the imbalance of living and working environments, creating a disconnected city. It aims to reconnect the town’s communities by providing a circular route that links various programs with existing site infrastructure. Considering the rich local history offering some of Britain’s oldest parks and buildings, as well as the growth of the industrial sector, the strategy focuses on connecting Birkenhead back to the Wirral through its food network. By adapting brownfield land in order to provide allotment space for the residents, the project intends to create a platform for sharing knowledge and skills in relation to food production and create a micro-food economy, generating an urban identity for the city as a “producer”. The reinforcement of the economic activity provides further potential for Birkenhead’s residential development, focusing mainly on the water front area and the adaptation of existing road infrastructure in order to provide more pedestrian and cyclist friendly routes.

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[Inter] Cultivation Community

Nur Amiera, Amir Izzat, Kevin Hiew

North Birkenhead lacks open places to break out into, as the urban fabric is condensed with industrial and private buildings. The proposal is to introduce anchor points spread across the town in order to inject new life into Birkenhead with spaces where economic exchange as well as social encounter occur.
At each of these three anchor points a programme of uses related to developing a local food economy has been proposed. These uses include reseach, storage, market exchange and education facilities. The anchors are linked by the existing gridded street pattern and by the proposal to activate the abandoned railway as a farming link and new public pathway.

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Birkenhead Arts Collective

Matt Kerrod, Andrew Jarman

By 2020 this country will have been subjected to a decade of economic ‘austerity’ by government. It is envisioned that during this period Birkenhead will remain on its current trajectory and continue to decline socially, economically and physically. Meanwhile across the River Mersey, Liverpool will remain stable and perhaps grow such that property values will increase. This will result in some demographic groups, such as artists and younger graduates, being priced out the area and being forced to look beyond Liverpool city centre for accommodation and workspace. It is at this moment that the Birkenhead Arts Collective will be formed.
The project proposes that through collaborative means the Arts Collective would seeks to regenerate Birkenhead using a programme of arts and small scale urban interventions which involve the local community at all levels. Utilising the existing iconic and period architecture, the Collective would seek to reinvigorate the town, with initial careful assessment and repurposing of some of the high quality vacant building stock.

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Questionable Hamburg

Adam Brindley, John Finlayson, Chris Wells

The project proposition is that as a result of capitalism, cities are becoming increasingly globalised with an associated image of being boring, repetitive and dull. Architects and developers at the critical urban stage have failed to build the city of today or tomorrow due to the rules generated by data, data that is destined to become obsolete. As a result, testing and experimentation with urbanism has stagnated, a crucial necessity in a world that is evolving faster than ever before. The project seeks to explore a new type of urbanism, an urbanism based not on data, but on the physical experience of what a city is.
The project seeks to capture this true essence of a city through its exploration using the protaganists senses, emotions, feelings and memories, with the intention to generate a new way to ‘collage’ the areas explored. The testing ground for this new urban methodology is Hamburg, and in short, the objective is to use Hamburg as found to recreate Hamburg within Hamburg. By creating narratives and themes, the project can then craft ingredients of context that can then be abstracted to create a new context for the city. In doing so, the project creates new data and can experiment with new possibilities for the site in Hamburg in an original, playful way.

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Social Housing Masterplan

Dominica Chisca Roshan Hariram Chloe Purcell

The project is thought of as part of Hamburg’s action plan to create more housing outside of the city centre. Considering the refugee crisis, the project is developed primarily as a means to provide shelter and also educational facilities to assist refugees. Housing is developed as a social hub providing shared spaces that allow interaction and provide opportunities for economic growth. In response to the low density of the Rothensburgort area, the project applies the successful spatial organisation of Altona borough, located in the western part of Hamburg. The buildings are arranged into a series of large blocks, with internal courtyards, often occupied by smaller buildings, that can be used by the residents as space for workshops, playgrounds, sports facilities or gardens, depending on their personal needs of the moment. The meandering streets guide pedestrians from node to node, where these roads widen and intersect, spaces are created for shops to spill out and people to linger. The majority of the buildings are mixed use, having shops and cafes at ground level and residential and office space above.

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Plexus City/the Cultural Platform

Lauren O’Donnell , Harrison Smith, Syed Danial Anwar Wan Muhammad

“Plexus” defines the network of “green space” from land to water, connecting the people of Hamburg back to the river Elbe. The project introduces a “green ribbon” stretching from Ballinstadt in the south to Hamburg’s museum mile in the city centre, connecting many segregated areas north and south of the river. It takes influence from New York’s High Line focusing upon recreation along the Elbe’s rich waterfront, ideas that coincide with Hamburg’s wider city master plan. The aim is to integrate a pedestrian link that makes use of the waterfront connecting nodes, to form a medium between ecological and urban realms.
The Olympic site and HafenCity are in close proximity and the project acts as a push and pull factor, comprising three sectors (South Bank, Culture Hub and Performance Platform) connected through a bridge, stretched with greenery and defined pedestrian and cycling routes with viewing areas and floating islands for boats to dock. The Performance Platform is a large floating plaza promoting the public realm for recreational use. It allows active flow in and around the bars, clubs, restaurants and the open-air theatre. The Culture Hub, perceived as an extension to the public realm, provides an information centre for tourists and a space for local community projects and chaired meetings. South Bank is an area of potential for investment and social activity with retail, food outlets, museums and large river frontages as points of interest with water sport activities such as canoeing, kayaking, rowing and wind surfing along the enclosed water edge. The promenade enables and rewards “leaping over the Elbe” and aims to promote the formation of a multi cultural district. Mixed use, affordable, units aim to promote growth, and allow the local community to inhabit their own city.

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Refloating Birkenhead

Rhydian Eldridge, Brandon McKeown, Craig Neal, Jonathon Tinsley

The project began with the raw reaction to context at its very core – by building on the already well-established industrial framework of Cammell Lairds, the project attempted to create a template for future growth through the manipulation of an existing typology – the industrial town. This particular typology came to fruition in the early part of the 20th Century with realisations such as Bournville, Saltaire and more locally Port Sunlight. This framework is adapted to suit a modern context but the more defining characteristics remained true to their original vision. All residents are employees of the Cammell Laird and LJMU Lairdside co-operative and each resident owns shares in their community as a whole. Our ambition was to knit into the existing urban fabric by plugging into the physical context to the West of the site and re-animating the edge of the River Mersey to the East, thereby serving the existing residents of Birkenhead and also those of the proposed intervention.

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Ensuring Future Prosperity

Tom Barlow, Daniel Haigh, Jacob Robertson

The project intends to create an area in Hamburg that through excellence in training, innovation, research and development, will increase the number of skilled workers, and enhance the skill levels of the current and future working population. The masterplan adheres to an ethos of cross fertilisation and exchange of ideas though a chain of linked spaces surrounded by buildings housing places of research innovation and training. The design establishes a programme of specific uses within different buildings and sections of the site.
Project objectives include; provision of the best facilities in Germany for the highest levels of research, innovation and training in the automotive, port & harbour and aeronautical industries; to inspire people of all skill levels to become involved by becoming trainers, researchers, workers, innovators or students; to provide high quality residential, leisure and retail facilities that will enrich the living and working experience of visitors, trainees, researchers and other participants.

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The Walkable Town

Annie Zahoor Katja Johnston Nick Kelly

The project aims to transform Birkenhead into a car-free town. Inspired by successful European examples which are slowly converting urban centres into walkable areas, it investigates the potential of revitalising the town by creating an expanded mobility network in the form of an express tram linking directly to the heart of Liverpool city centre. The Queensway Tunnel becomes a fast and reliable mode of dedicated public transport without cars or pollution. Accommodating bicycles, the tram compliments the development of a walkable, car free, town centre and supports cycle tourism across the whole of the Wirral.
Inspired by Edinburgh New Town, the project suggests typologies for the mews areas between the facades of each block, providing a core of small affordable units that will encourage start-up businesses. New public squares will support the cultural diversity of a range of grassroots activity. Within this defined zone of walkable town there will be courtyards of various sizes containing children’s playgrounds and places for private contemplation, amongst other uses.

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