“The very varied apartment mix, with the addition of the cost-controlled housing, will not only enable the social integration of different demographics, but it will also provide much-needed housing as the city continues to densify,” states Ben van Berkel.
Ben van Berkel and his team at UNStudio, together with landscape architects OKRA landschapsarchitekten, have designed a new 90 meter-tall building for Pandion AG., located at the entrance of Düsseldorf, culminating at the Belsenpark masterplan urban development in the district of Oberkassel, on the left bank of the river Rhine.
The new Belsenpark Tower, which will stand on the perimeter of the masterplan, is designed and positioned to fit the grain of the surrounding developments, in addition to connecting nearby communities.
The positioning of two additional low-rise buildings forms an intimate pocket park surrounded by public uses. A programmed pedestrian axis that runs from underneath the nearby elevated road, through the building, and into the courtyard park, ensures permeability and connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists.
A varied and porous project in the ground floor zone, which includes the open park area, gastronomy outlets, and health, sports, and wellness program, will encourage social interaction for the residents and the surrounding community.
The mixed-use tower will house offices on the lower levels and a rich mix of apartment types above. The two low-rise buildings comprise cost-controlled housing.
Below the seventh floor, the residential high-rise merges into flexibly designed co-working office spaces.
The dimensions of the floor plan are ideal for creating flexible office spaces comprising a mix of cell structures and contemporary work environments.
This part of the tower also acts as a sound barrier for the inner courtyard and residential development behind it.
The articulation of the tower is designed to fit within its surrounding context while expressing the different scales and the liveliness of the building’s different uses.
Each of the facades is designed to respond to noise pollution, views, daylight, and sunlight levels. Due to the comparatively low noise levels on the side facing the park, open balconies with all-glass balustrades provide unobstructed views.
The office spaces on the lower levels denote generous pixel-like structures that refine upwards across the varied residential project and visually bind it within the tower.
The apartments are modular, with small and large units flexibly mixed and organized into packages. The apartment sizes range from 30 square meters to 130 square meters.
Across the residential facades, a variety of textures is created by a play between loggias and bay windows that also incorporate biophilia and echo the rhythm of the apartment mix.
One side of the Belsenpark tower faces a busy elevated road junction, a source of high-level noise pollution.
Despite this, all of the apartments in the tower have an outdoor area.
On the sides of the building facing the street, the apartments have loggias that are enclosed by sound-reducing baffle panes.
The surrounding noise is further reduced both by a ventilation gap in the baffle pane and by sound-absorbing wooden linings inside the loggia.
The geometric alignment of the deep soffits in the facade elements also offers a high level of soundproofing and passive sun protection, while maximizing the view of the Rhine floodplains.
On the lower area of the building, slightly iridescent light aluminum elements and white plaster facades of the price-controlled living program reflect the materiality of the context, while light natural stone elements characterize the appearance of the tower next to the warm wood-clad loggias.
Belsenpark is strategically located in one of Düsseldorf’s east-west green corridors.
These landscape corridors have the potential to extend further west and strengthen the city’s greenery and bio-diversity.
The location of the project, therefore, forms a critical green link within this network, supporting new bio-diversity on a larger scale, while physically connecting various smaller green facilities at a neighborhood level.
The landscape planning of the development also forms an integral part of the architecture.
The geometric patterns of the building facades are reflected in the landscape plan, creating seating niches along the main development and emphasizing the entrances.
At the intersection of the bicycle and pedestrian paths, a water feature creates an attractive place to enjoy the sun, while supporting a sustainable approach to water management.
The integrated rainwater approach combines green components with sustainable water management tools to create a green-blue system that can buffer rainwater.
Rainwater is captured on the green roofs via a water retention layer, while the overflow is directed to the planting in the pocket park.
Modular planning simplifies the process, while the focus is placed on resourcing when choosing the construction approach and materials for the design.
As such, particular attention is paid to the concept of reducing CO2 in construction and operation and to avoiding waste by up-cycling materials.
Both the supporting structure and the facade layout follow a stringent grid.
This modular approach enables maximum flexibility for extension and facade design.
Project: Belsenpark Tower
Design Team: Ben van Berkel, Tina Kortmann, Stelina Tsifti, Carolina Bocella, Ignacio Andres Mejia Zubillaga, Dichao Wang, Zhongming Fang, Verena Lihl, Stijn Tonen, and Jan Schellhoff
Landscape Architecrs: OKRA landschapsarchitekten
Structure and Façade Engineers: Bollinger+Grohmann
MEP and Energy Engineers: KBP Ingenieure
Client: PANDION AG
Renderings: Flying Architecture