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Competition: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen – Architectural Review

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An open international competition is being held to re-masterplan a 1.25ha former industrial site in Uhingen, Germany (Deadline: 24 March)

The single-stage planning competition – organised by Düsseldorf-based FALTIN+SATTLER and backed by the Municipality of Uhingen – seeks urban design and public realm concepts to transform a disused textile mile into a new living and working quarter.

The anonymous Spinnweberei Quarter call for concepts features a €80,000 prize fund and is being held as part of the upcoming IBA ’27 exposition of innovative architecture which will feature several exemplar projects in Stuttgart and the surrounding settlements.

Contest site: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen

Contest site: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen

Credit:Image by Google Earth

According to the brief: ‘The project site is the former location of an old textile mill and approximately 1.25ha in size.

‘As part of the project qualification through the competition, a productive mix of uses must be created with a focus on housing and working, supplemented by spaces for local services, small productive businesses, new cafés and restaurants and smaller shops as well as sports and recreational offerings.

‘The development of the Spinnweberei Uhingen site is to act as an impetus and inspiration for urban planning and functional ideas for the entire town of Uhingen, which is located approximately 35km east of Stuttgart.’

Located a short distance from Uhingen’s old town and close to a new bridge over the River Fils and the main train station, the Spinnweberei Quarter site was the site of a former spinning and weaving mill which has now been demolished.

Key aims of the project include creating a new ‘urban neighbourhood for innovative housing and working’ which embodies sustainability and climate resilient principles while also providing a high-quality public realm.

Contest site: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen

Contest site: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen

The site’s regeneration will be part of Germany’s International Building Exhibition which has been held since 1901, has delivered many iconic projects across the country, and will focus on Stuttgart in 2027. The competition is one of several relating to the future exhibition.

Last year, the town of Winnenden launched a contest for a 5.2-hectare mixed-use neighbourhood next to a train station and in 2020 the nearby City of Backnang launched an international competition to redevelop a 17ha brownfield site – both of which will also feature in IBA ’27.

Last month, an open international contest was announced for a ‘courageous and sensitive’ rethink of Mies van der Rohe’s acclaimed 1927 Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart which is also being held as part of the upcoming IBA ’27.

Submissions to the Spinnweberei Quarter contest may be in English or German.

Q&A with Jörg Faltin

The competition organizer discusses his ambitions

Jörg Faltin

Jörg Faltin

Why are you holding an international competition to re-masterplan Spinnweberei in Uhingen?

These seemingly ‘small’ urban development projects are often ‘challenging’ or demanding. The quality standards are high and with IBA ’27 as the driving force will also help gather international know-how. The ‘call for ideas’ for a contemporary quarter with all the requirements for a mixture of uses – living, working and sport – and not any separation or zoning is therefore consistent with these aims and will deliver a project that can be looked back on with pride when it is finished. Also, in the tradition of reclaiming contemporary jobs, the project area itself is directly near to the regional train stop (where you can travel to the state capital Stuttgart in 25 minutes).

What is your vision for the future of Spinnweberei, and what would you like to see in submissions to the competition?

The area has been cleared with the structural elements of industrial culture removed, but the memories of working in the past remain. How can this unique responsibility be transferred into a future urban development project? This is an approach that will need to deal with skillful urban and open space planning and with the implementation of high-level architectural ideas for a harmonious or a special way of living together on this site. This is especially true in the post-Corona era – a challenge in itself for IBA’27 – which will require a model for living and working which is innovative, diverse, communal, flexible, and incorporates new ideas for living and working, rethinking mobility, realising sustainability concepts, and responsibility in climate protection.

Contest site: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen

Contest site: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen

What role do you see this competition playing in the development of new local, international and underrepresented architectural and design talents, and helping to address the underrepresentation and engagement of many communities in our interpretation of the built environment?

The IBA concept gives rise to a model character of development which must not be imposed but rather co-designed with local actors in Uhingen. The town has positioned itself well here by motivating its citizens to join in the thinking process, to see themselves as later users of the site, and to initiate something for children and young people through an integrated sports hall. All of these approaches possess the charm of a small town and familiar togetherness. The question for young creative minds, especially in an open competition, will be left to the course of events. This is a great opportunity to position oneself here and to shine by making a fresh contribution regardless of whether teams are mixtures of local and international players. After the competition, the project must of course make the leap into realization. All the signals are green, but only after that leap is the promotion of planning culture complete, because you can touch it.

Contest site: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen

Contest site: Spinnweberei Quarter, Uhingen

Are there any recent similar competitions or projects, either locally or internationally, which have delivered impressive results?

Our focus is certainly not only on celebrated large and small projects with outstanding architecture (for example, those that have emerged from competitions and won multiple awards after realization) designed by star architects and unknowns alike. More important for us are the qualities of use – such as the real fulfilment of sustainability requirements around ‘climate neutrality’ for the future, including mobility issues. These are the real challenges of our time and that here, too, must not remain as just ‘plans’. Isn’t that what we are all working on? And yes: there are impressive role models, large and small. But there must be more, much more.

How do you see projects in Uhingen evolving in the future and what competitions will you hold next?

First of all, we are only in charge of this one project in Uhingen. There are many competitions and dialogue processes in the pipeline. It is always worth taking a look at our website where there are always new exciting projects of different scales and graininess.

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