Deutzer Hafen

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as a resource

Year: First prize in competition 2016, on-going

Client: Stadt Köln and Moderne Stadt

Program: Masterplan for new city district in former industrial harbour area

Size: 240,000 m²

At the same time as every major urbanized area suffers from water scarcity, waterfront cities are experiencing growing challenges with handling extreme stormwater events and rising sea levels. This might seem like a paradox. So how can urban solutions mitigate the climate-related challenges while utilizing resources better? Deutzer Hafen is an old industrial harbour area in Cologne, Germany, located south of the city center. Cobe’s winning proposal for a new development plan transforms the area from industry to a lively neighbourhood. By meeting the water design challenge head-on, the neighbourhood showcases examples of how water challenges can be turned into water resources on an urban scale.

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The harbour of Cologne has a rich variety of industrial layers, as a beautiful contrast to the famous Kölner Dom – Cologne's cathedral.

The project consists of new housing types integrated into the industrial heritage architecture preserved on-site, providing homes for 5,000 inhabitants and workspaces for another 4,500. A new bicycle bridge over the Rhine River connects the neighbourhood to Cologne’s city center.

How can cities make
room for water?

Today, Deutzer Hafen is the largest central area of potential densification in Cologne. A major challenge to the site is the dynamic water levels of the Rhine, which vary by 10 meters and make flood handling key to the design.

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How to transform Cologne's last industrial harbour into a lively city for 5,000 people living in close symbiosis with water? A leisure park is a part of the natural rainwater filter.

On a large scale, we integrate the new neighbourhood with Cologne’s historical urban “ring” structure.

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A new promenade loop frames the existing industrial landmarks and makes them accessible to the whole city.

The future Deutzer Hafen is designed to handle heavy rain and large differences in water levels in the Rhine. Streetscapes and public spaces are shaped to mitigate and contain the flow of water.

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Rainwater is collected and handled in a local system of visible drains, retention basins and green-blue biotopes. The public areas act to absorb excess rainwater and to provide diverse and green spaces for the public.

All rainwater is collected and filtered naturally in an integrated water handling system. After the rainwater is filtered, it ends up in the new harbour pool. The rainwater runs from the pool into the harbour, creating a waterfall.

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We have created a urban development that is carefully adapted to the local climate. Flooding from the Rhine River is a serious problem in Cologne. Therefore, we have been working with a proofing of the whole district by collecting rainwater in a big public pool, which is heated from waste heat from the neighborhood. It solves a serious problem and simultaneous­ly creates a unique attraction for the citizens.

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Building a new
neighbourhood around
public life on the waterfront

A series of new public spaces with historical traces creates the framework for the new urban structure.

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A new network of bike paths, local streets and easy access to public transport are established at a flooding-safe height. Easy access will encourage people to leave the car at home and bike or use public transport instead.

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Diverse building sites and types ensure a livable and mixed city.

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The shape and material of the existing structures are taken as the starting point for the new buildings. We create a new "Deutzer Hafen block type" by combining the qualities of a local housing block with the character of the industrial mill.

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Local housing block in Deutz + “Ellmühle” industrial mill becomes the new block type.

From outdated industry to city of the future. The new skyline of Deutzer Hafen.

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Location: Cologne, Germany, On-going masterplan process

Client: Stadt Köln and Moderne Stadt

Program: Masterplan for new city district in former industrial harbour area

Size: 240,000 m²

Year: First prize in competition 2016, on-going

Collaborators: Rambøll Studio Dreiseitl, Transsolar

Certifications: DGNB Platinum

Team: Alberte Danvig, Alexander Forsch, Caroline Nagel, Dan Stubbergaard, Jannis Bruns, Karoline Liedtke, Laura Diestel, Mads Birgens Kristensen, Melissa Svendson, Ole Storjohann, Tamara Kalanajevska.

Image Credits: Please note that we had used a small number of images for which the copyright holders could not be identified. In these cases it has been our assumption that such images belong to the public domain. If you claim ownership of any of the images presented and have not been properly identified, please notify Cobe and we will make a formal acknowledgement.