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Dorotheen Quartier (Stuttgart)

Urban reinterpretation of the historical city plan

Stefan Behnisch

1. Re-planning of a quarter and new areas for public use  

The re-planning of the Dorotheen Quartier not only creates new areas for public use, it also offers a unique opportunity to reassess the relationship with the Karlsplatz arcade. This thoroughfare has, until now, always been perceived as the less important “back” of the site, situated behind the Breuninger Department Store, and leading towards Sporerstraße and Karlstraße. With this project, which includes three mixed-use buildings with offices, small-scale retail and urban living, the highly valuable central city core is now infused with a new identity and vitality – complete with a broad range of user activities. Thus, the new area augments Stuttgart’s existing, thriving network of lively pedestrian areas.

Figura 1. Dorotheen Quartier comprende tres bloques de edificios de uso mixto con oficinas, pequeños comercios y viviendas. © David Matthiessen.
Figure 1: The Dorotheen quartier includes three mixed-used buildings blocks with offices, small-scale retail and urban living.   © David Matthiessen 

There have been some major changes to the scheme since Behnisch Architekten won the competition in spring 2010. The building of the former Hotel Silber has been preserved. Here the state of Baden-Württemberg committed itself to install a memorial, in memory of the building’s the former use as a Gestapo headquarter from 1937 to 1945. The preservation of this building, which was almost completely destroyed during World War II and subsequently rebuilt in a different appearance, has led to a complete restructuring of the original design. Now the buildings restrain themselves towards their surroundings in terms of height and size. At the same time they respond expressively in their architectural appearance to the urban characteristics of Stuttgart.

The design broadens and divides the existing Sporerstraße into two squares – the Dorotheen Platz and the Sporer Platz – and connects both to the lively town square in front of the Market Hall. A generous gateway and properly framed views assist in creating the opportunity for constant circulation between the existing sites and the new development. A new visual link between Markthalle and Karlspassage aids in connecting the disparate elements of the square, thereby increasing the attractiveness of the Dorotheen Quartier.

Figura 2. Plano del centro de la ciudad de Stuttgart de 1811 (izquierda) Figura 3. Plano de Dorotheen Quartier (derecha)   

Figure 2: Site plan Dorotheen Quartier (left)

Figure 3: City map center of Stuttgart 1811 (right)

The objective of the entire reorganization was to create an urban space in the city center with no ‘rear sides’ and in this manner to create a public realm that is instead flanked by a variety of equally attractive, high-quality frontages. New elements supplement the existing urban structure. The scale, form and configuration of the three new buildings aim to integrate themselves seamlessly into the city’s existing and historic urban fabric and character. In this regard, the rooflines of such historic structures as the Markthalle, and the geometries and axes of the public plazas such as Karlsplatz have played an important role in informing the design of the Dorotheen Quartier ensemble.

In the city of Stuttgart, the unique topography of the ‘city basin’ has, in essence, established a ‘fifth facade’ for each building: the roof. The ’roofscape’ here has particular significance in a place where, from any vantage point, the roofs across the landscape always serve as icons identifying landmarks and destinations in the city.

Figura 4. Conexiones con las estructuras antiguas y nuevas del barrio (izquierda) Figura 5. Secuencia de nuevas plazas a lo largo del eje visual (centro) Figura 6. Reorganización del espacio público de la calle con ampliaciones y accesos (derecho)   

Figure 4: Connections with old and new structures of the quarter (left).

Figure 5: Sequence of new squares along the visual axis (middle).

Figure 6: Rearrangement of the public street space with extensions and entrances (right).

Figura 7. Dorotheen Quartier: planta baja y ampliaciones de Sporerstraße.
Figure 7:  Dorotheen Quartier: Ground floor with extensions Sporerstraße. 
Figura 8. Dorotheen Quartier: paisaje de cubiertas desde Karlsplatz. © David Matthiessen
Figure 8: Dorotheen Quartier: Roofscape from Karlsplatz. © David Matthiessen
Figura 9. Las galerías de Karlsplatz del Mercado de Stuttgart representan una referencia para los nuevos edificios. © David Matthiessen
Figure 9: The Karlsplatz arcades of the Stuttgart market hall finds a reference in the colonnades of the new building. © David Matthiessen
Figuras 10, 11 y 12. La Sporerstraße se amplió aún más y – en línea con el contexto histórico de la ciudad – la antigua Karlstraße, hoy llamada Eduard-Breuninger-Straße, fue reintegrada entre dos edificios. © David Matthiessen      
Figure 10, 11, 12: The Sporerstraße was widened even more and – in line with the historical city layout – the original Karlstraße, today named Eduard-Breuninger-Straße, was reinstated between two buildings.  © David Matthiessen

2. Extensions Sporerstraße – creation of a lively space 

In terms of urban planning the Dorotheen Quartier presented the unique opportunity to upgrade what many hitherto had considered to be the back of the Breuninger department store: the exit of the Karlspassage shopping arcade at the “far end” and the building’s façade towards the Sporerstrasse. The scheme joins up the two points of entrance at the rear of the store – one at the arcade and another one at Breuninger Markt – by adding single-storied extension buildings, and create two clearly defined and vibrant urban plazas.

The Sporerstrasse widens at this point and expands even more across the Münzstrasse into the broad area in front of the covered market hall. From here it continues as a popular and lively urban space. Different plazas are articulated thanks to its different topographic heights: The “Sporerplatz” in front of the covered market and the much higher plaza “Dorotheenplatz” in front of the Karlspassage arcade. The use of the same paving slabs connects these areas, not just visually but also spatially.

Imagine that these spaces are united as if underneath a large green canopy: above they are defined by the clear-cut contours of the roof surfaces that are staggered backwards, reaching ever higher towards the top. Below they give shape to the streetscape. The ensemble of extensions slips easily into this urban, organic context and integrates the existing entrances. The choice of materials and also the striking design provides new architectural accents.

Attractive and premium retail as well as restaurants, which can all be accessed from Sporerstrasse, add to the vibrancy of this pedestrian link and thereby upgrade a street that in the past had merely lined the back of a building. The catering space in the arcade is linked to the outdoor seating of restaurants or cafes at the Dorotheenplatz and acts as a fixture; in the future perhaps also for the Bohnenviertel district across the big road which might become more directly connected one day to the inner city. Linked to the busy web of pedestrian zones in Stuttgart by a new strip of diversions, this prime city site presents ample opportunities for shopping and stopping by at leisure, while at the same time strengthening the cross connections of the urban fabric.

Figura 13. Ampliaciones de Sporerstrasse: planta baja.
Figure 13: Extensions Sporerstraße: Ground floor
Figura 14. Atractivos comercios y restaurantes, a los que se accede desde Sporerstrasse, junto con el dinamismo de esta conexión peatonal mejoran una calle que en el pasado se consideraba una “zona trasera”. © David Matthiessen
Figure 14: Attractive and premium retail as well as restaurants, which can all be accessed from Sporerstrasse, add to the vibrancy of this pedestrian link and thereby upgrade a street that in the past had merely lined the back of a building. © David Matthiessen
Figura 15. Vista desde Sporerstrasse hacia Stiftskirche y el edificio del mercado (izquierda). © David Matthiessen Figura 16. Vista desde Sporerplatz hacia Dorotheenplatz (derecha). © David Matthiessen   

Figure 15: View from Sporerstraße to the Stiftskirche and the market hall (left). © David Matthiessen

Figure 16: View from Sporerplatz to Dorotheenplatz (right). © David Matthiessen

3. Facades – a family from related yet differentiated individuals 

The project Dorotheen Quartier dates back to a competition from 2010. In place of a development from the 1960s and a Wilhelminian-style builing, a new urban district with two large blocks was planned on the rear side of the Breuninger department store, right in the middle of the city close to the Stiftskirche, the old and the new castle and in the direct vicinity of the market hall. One of the reasons for the success of the competition entry was the central idea of making the rear side of the Sporerstraße a place that could be experienced once again, as well as giving the Breuninger department store a second facade.

Figura 17. Las ventanas del edificio A (derecha) fueron alineadas con un elemento que aporta un carácter singular a este lado del edificio situado junto a Hauptstätter Strasse (una concurrida vía de varios carriles). También aporta ventilación natural y evita el ruido. © David Matthiessen
Figure 17: The windows of building A (right) were fitted flush with a baffle element giving this side of the building, which borders onto the Hauptstätter Strasse (a busy multilane thoroughfare), a very different character. It also provides natural ventilation and keeps out the noise. © David Matthiessen

During the work on the project, the state and the city decided to preserve the Hotel Silber, a former Gestapo headquarters, as a memorial site. As a result, the concept had to be reviewed and the project redesigned: Two large blocks developed into an ensemble consisting of three buildings. The Sporerstraße was widened even more and – in line with the historical city layout – the original Karlstraße, today named Eduard-Breuninger-Straße, was reinstated between two buildings. In this way, spacious and in some cases two-storey commercial areas developed, which enliven the urban space. In addition to shops and restaurants, the buildings contain two ministries. Apartments are located above the additional office spaces in the immediate vicinity of the market hall.

Apart from small variations, the facades of all three blocks are similar. They follow the concept of creating a family from related yet differentiated individuals. The facades overlooking the busy Holzstraße have a smoother design. The protective exterior glass pane, flush with the natural stone, keep the noise out of the rooms yet still make it possible to open the windows.

Figura 18. Figura 19: El acristalamiento más grande hacia la Sporerstrasse se diseñó para generar una sensación de mayor apertura. © David Matthiessen
Figure 18: Larger glazing towards the Sporerstrasse were designed to create an open feel. © David Matthiessen

The quartier is enclosed in a natural stone facade, both in the section facing towards the new castle and Karlsplatz and partially in the front section overlooking the old castle and the market hall. The facade has an expressive appearance. It is reminscent of the so-called “Stuttgarter Schule”, however it also incorporates the architectural, three-dimensional aparatus of the new castle. It has recesses, is folded, and forms reveals. Within the quartier, in the somewhat shady areas of the Sporerstraße and also to some extent at the sides of the buildings, the facades are glass and finished with folded metal elements. They reflect the sunlight into the depth of the street. Here, we wanted to keep the facade lighter, less hard and less formal than the natural stone facades facing the city.

The problem of the Breuninger department store in the past was that – in addition to the clear front side oriented towards the marketplace – it also had a rear side along the Sporerstraße. Due to the redevelopment of the quartier with one-storey buildings, a side that is at least equivalent to the front has been created. The concept links what was also a former rear exit onto the Karlspassage with two new city squares. Very light facades characterise the street, more tightly framed by the annexes, as pedestrian zones that exceed a certain width no longer function on two sides but only on one.

In the Dorotheen Quartier, the facades have been designed differently, depending on the direction in which they face but also according to their usage or the urban planning setting. The side of the buildings overlooking the city and the castle have a clearly formal and rather more serious character. On the side facing the Sporerstraße, they have a lighter, more open and light-coloured appearance.

La fachada de los edificios cuenta con un acabado en piedra natural, tanto en la parte hacia el nuevo castillo y Karlsplatz, como parcialmente en la parte hacia el antiguo castillo y el mercado. La fachada tiene un aspecto expresivo. Recuerda a la denominada “Stuttgarter Schule”, pero también incorpora el sistema arquitectónico tridimensional del nuevo castillo. En el interior del barrio, en los espacios más oscuros de Sporerstrasse y en algunos laterales, las fachadas son de vidrio con elementos metálicos plegados. Reflejan la luz solar en la profundidad de la calle. Se pretendía conseguir una fachada más ligera, menos dura y formal que las fachadas de piedra natural que dan hacia el entorno.  El antiguo problema de los grandes almacenes Breuninger era que – además del claro frente orientado hacia el mercado – también tenía una zona trasera hacia Sporerstrasse. Gracias al nuevo desarrollo, se ha creado un nuevo frente al menos equivalente al existente. Con esta idea se une lo que era también una salida trasera de Karlspassage con dos nuevas plazas. La calle se caracteriza por fachadas muy ligeras. En Dorotheen Quartier, se han diseñado las fachadas de forma diferente en función de la orientación, pero también de acuerdo a su uso o al entorno urbano. El lado de los edificios orientado hacia la ciudad y el castillo tiene un claro carácter formal, mucho más serio. La fachada orientada hacia Sporerstrasse tiene un aspecto más ligero y abierto, usando colores claros.
Figure 19: Finely jointed Dietfurter Aquapower limestone was used for the facades of buildings B and C, while the façade of building A consists of hand-brushed Dietfurter limestone, again jointed. The idea here is that of a “family relationship” between the different limestones facades – like siblings who are similar and yet different in their own unique way. © David Matthiessen
Figura 20. El vidrio tintado asciende hacia el alero (izquierda). © David Matthiessen Figura 21. La fachada de aluminio está compuesta por paneles prefabricados de aluminio plegado con un acabado de color reflectante. El patrón geométrico de los pliegues hace referencia a las fachadas de caliza (derecha). © David Matthiessen   

Figure 20: The printed and opaque glass roof rises up above the eaves (left). © David Matthiessen

Figure 21: The Aluminium Facade façade consists of pre-fabricated folded aluminum panels with a colour-reflecting coating. The geometric pattern of the aluminium folds references the limestone facades (right). © David Matthiessen

4. Roofscape – unique topography establishes a ‘fifth façade’ 

On all three buildings, a glass roof rises up above the eaves. It is to a large part printed and opaque, however from the outside it has a homogenous appearance. The topographical setting of Stuttgart means that the roofscape, visible from the slopes of the city, has a special significance. The green roofs and terraces are perceived as a fifth facade. The technical installations are hidden in the roofs and are not visible on the outside. For technical reasons, approx. 80% of the glass surfaces must be closed. Some sections are opaque while others are printed, in order to ensure sun protection. All the rooms in these roofs have openable windows.

Figura 22. El paisaje de cubiertas cobra especial importancia en un lugar donde se pueden observar claramente cubiertas icónicas casi desde cualquier punto. © David Matthiessen
Figure 22: The roofscape has a special significance in a place where iconic roofs can be clearly seen from every viewpoint. © David Matthiessen
Figura 23. Dorotheen Quartier: séptimo piso
Figure 23: Dorotheen Quartier: Seventh floor

The roofscape has a special significance in a place where iconic roofs can be clearly seen from every viewpoint. For Dorotheen Quartier, shading and sun exposure studies informed the roof architectural design process, contributing to roof form, glazing ratio and material selection to optimize interior and exterior comfort. The vertical glazing of the office attic is fritted, allowing an optimal amount of daylight for the office areas, and reflecting sunshine as diffuse light, thus improving the illumination of the inner courtyards and alleyways. Special care was taken for indoor and outdoor daylight access to avoid the conventional problem of dark inner-city spaces. The project is aiming for LEED Platinum certification!

Figura 24. Vista de las cubiertas desde Karlsplatz. © David Matthiessen
Figure 24: Roofscape from Karlsplatz. © David Matthiessen
Figura 25. Vista nocturna de las cubiertas. © David Matthiessen

Figure 25: View to the roofscape at night. © David Matthiessen

Nota Legal
Directora: María A. Leboreiro Amaro, Dra. Arquitecto. Profesora Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Consejo de redacción: Miquel Adriá, director de la revista Arquine
Carmen Andrés Mateo, Arquitecta. Profesora Asociada de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
José Mª Ezquiaga Dominguez. Dr. Arquitecto. Profesor Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
José Fariña Tojo. Dr. Arquitecto. Catedrático de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Fernando Fernández Alonso. Arquitecto. Profesor Asociado de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Josep Mª Llop Torne. Arquitecto. Profesor en la Facultad de Geografía de la Universidad de Lleida
Javier Ruiz Sánchez. Dr. Arquitecto. Profesor Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Secretaría: Llanos Masiá
Edita: planur-e
Avda. Valdemarin, 68
28023 Madrid
Traducción: planur-e
ISSN: 2340-8235
Copyright: (2013): planur-e
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