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Competition 2008-2009

In 2008, together with DB Station&Service an interdisciplinary urban design competition for the revitalization of the station forecourts was held. The aim of the competition: to obtain a concept for this prime city center location that duly reflects the station’s significance in terms of space usage and design. The winning proposal needed to reflect all the different functions in the brief, in particular as regards the requirements made by the different modes of transportation and other operational procedures.
The competition covered the forecourt proper, Poststrasse, Mannheimer Strasse and the so-called “Campanile site” between Mannheimer Strasse and Pforzheimer Strasse.

Competition procedure

The competition was preceded by an EU-wide selection process. Following the selection of eight planning teams (each composed of architects, landscape designers, and traffic planners), two designs were shortlisted and fine-tuned in a second step in 2009. The two designs differ markedly in their approach to traffic management.
In preparation of a final decision on the winning design, the two proposals were analyzed in-depth to show how they would each impact on traffic flow.

The designs

The design submitted by the team from schneider+schumacher (s+s) envisaged moving the streetcar tracks and stops across the forecourts and thus closer to the station’s main entrance. The idea was to separate Poststrasse and Mannheimer Strasse from the through traffic on Düsseldorfer Strasse, Am Hauptbahnhof, and Basler Strasse. This way the northern and southern zones would be kept almost entirely car-free. The transport infrastructure relating to the station (including the “Hauptbahnhof-Nord” underground car park) would be accessed from the rear in order to open the forecourt out, giving it a spacious layout embellished by just a few select elements.

The design proposed by the team at TOPOTEK 1 (TOP) relocated the streetcar facilities to the east side of the station, with stops facing the Bahnhofsviertel district. The links to Poststrasse and Mannheimer Strasse remained intact, as did the access to the “Hauptbahnhof Nord” underground car park. There were plans for a new parking facility beneath one of the high-rises of the Campanile site (on the drawing board at the time of planning). Architecturally, the plaza took its cue from the Wilhelminian style station complex: a symmetrical layout with two fountains, candelabras, and intricate paving.

Civic participation 2009
An online participation process was held in July 2009 to give citizens the opportunity to comment on the shortlisted designs, ask questions, and make suggestions.

The online forum received 130 entries. Many of these were evidently submitted by people who come into contact with the station on a daily basis – be it as commuters or as residents of the district.
The proposals presented were debated critically, with many suggestions made on traffic functions as well as on the forecourt’s design and furnishings.
The online forum was not intended as a voting platform, which is why entries were not evaluated quantitatively, especially since such an evaluation cannot be representative.
However, in the course of further planning these suggestions will serve to draw attention to those issues that the citizens rate as important, enabling them to be included in the concept at an early stage.

Preliminary planning 2014

In 2013, the City and DB Station&Service agreed to split up the project and award the contract for the planning of the northern part in a first step. This zone includes the central forecourt in front of the main entrance, the plaza adjacent in the north, and Poststrasse. In June 2014, schneider+schumacher was awarded the contract to draw up the preliminary plans.
The planning ambit spans the design of the plazas including lighting, the revitalization of the junction at Poststrasse-Düsseldorfer Strasse, and the reorganization of the car parking facilities in the planning zone.