Bender Hofgärten
Social, functional, digital – a small town in South Westphalia looks to the future together.
  • Location
    Kreuztal
  • Project
    Urban neighbourhood development
  • Procedure
    Competition (1st prize, 2022)
  • Client
    Stadt Kreuztal
  • Application Consortium
    caspar.;
    Schellenberg + Bäumler;
    studio grüngrau
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Planning and construction period
    as of 2022
  • Gross floor area
    18,550 m²
  • Town Planner
    Schellenberg + Bäumler
  • Landscape Architecture
    studio grüngrau
  • Vizualizations
    caspar.;
    Schellenberg + Bäumler;
    studio grüngrau

As part of the REGIONALE 2025 initiative in South Westphalia, the town of Kreuztal (county of Siegen-Wittgenstein) plans to transform the abandoned Bender site in the district of Ferndorf into a model quarter under the title “holz.stahl.digital” (wood.steel.digital). In the competition decided in 2021, our concept for the Bender Hofgärten in Kreuztal won 1st prize. The new district will be sustainable, social, and climate-resilient in its design and implementation, blending modern living, working, and cultural spaces within a network of high-quality green areas. Our urban development concept leverages the site’s qualities: direct connection to the city center and local recreational spots, the Ferndorfbach as an experiential natural space, and existing buildings that reflect the location’s industrial heritage.

Proximity to Nature and Culture

The public participation process in 2020 brought forth valuable insights, including the community’s desire for well-designed public spaces that foster lively neighborhoods. Our ecological model district is planned with an emphasis on reducing car dependency and promoting shared spaces that encourage friendly coexistence, with stationary traffic accommodated in district garages. The open spaces have different qualities, from urban wilderness in the biotope along the railroad line to the natural stream landscape. Green clearings open up between the new residential buildings, the largest of which is the neighborhood square in the east that transitions into a meadow orchard. This is also where the historic barrel-roofed hall is located; converted into a versatile cultural venue, it adds character to the young neighborhood while paying homage to its past. Other halls preserved in whole or in part will be given new functions essential for the community, such as a neighborhood garage with a mobility station or a combined heat and power plant with storage areas.

For Today and Tomorrow

As a clear commitment to social sustainability, a principle deeply embedded in Kreuztal’s housing policy, the diversity and mix of housing options offer something new. A multistory residential building (suitable for multigenerational living or subsidized housing) provides a study backbone for the neighborhood. Meanwhile, a green array of terraced townhouses with home offices, stacked terraced houses, and semi-detached houses fills out the landscape. An urban villa with apartments marks the southern entrance, while across from it, a small development of tiny homes arranged in garden courtyard fashion offers an exciting introduction to the Hofgärten Kreuztal. The orientation of apartments toward open residential courtyards, the neighborhood clubhouse, and the availability of urban gardening all foster the close intergenerational and neighborly connections the residents desire. All new buildings at Hofgärten Kreuztal are built as timber structures or timber hybrid constructions. This approach enables the creation of a model housing estate in timber construction with a wide variety of house types, achieved relatively quickly and cost-effectively.

By preserving and converting the historically significant industrial halls, we are saving embodied energy, known as gray energy, otherwise required to demolish and rebuild new structures. We are designing the new buildings using sustainable and energy-efficient timber construction, aiming for a characteristic overall appearance that blends tradition and modernity. The Bender Höfe will also be digitally connected through smart tech, forming a digital social community alongside the physical one to leverage synergies. The result will be an energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable neighborhood.

 

Project team