Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Duisburg Nord Landscape Park

An old steelwork in Germany has been transformed into a landscape park which is unlike any other in Europe. It respects the complex's important historical value and treats it as an archaeological window into the coal and the steel industries. The binary pairs of park: waste and process: product and art: nature are inverted. Each privileged term is upset: waste becomes park, product becomes process, nature becomes art. The enormous structures are now landmarks in their own right. One of the initial ideas was to turn them into integral elements of the park, places to be used and enjoyed by the residents.

Three types of recycling underly the park design.
First, buildings are re-cycled. Blast furnaces, a gasometer, cooling tanks, railroad tracks and slag heaps, among other things, occupied the land upon which the park was added. Instead of tearing down the blast furnaces walkways move through them; the gasometer, now clean, is home to a scuba diving class; the cooling tanks now exist as lily ponds; the railroad tracks are bike paths; the slag heaps grow wild with acacia and ailanthus trees.
Second, soil-forming maerials are recycled.
Third, water is recycled.