Things are Looking Up! Reviving the Zincoli Complex
  • Location
  • Project
    Preservation and renovation of a chimney with art installation and design of the surrounding open spaces.
  • Procedure
    Realization competition 2nd prize
  • Awarding authority
    Stadt Stolberg
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Landscape architecture
  • Art installation
    Berger & Berger
  • Planning period
  • Visualizations

The town of Stolberg is developing the abandoned 4.2-hectare Zincoli complex into a small-scale commercial hub called “Heimatblick.” A highlight is the preservation of the 80-meter-high Zincoli chimney, a historic relic from the site’s zinc and brass manufacturing era. As the last remaining structure of its kind, it is to be restored and creatively integrated into the site as a landmark. Through an interdisciplinary collaboration with the French artist duo Berger&Berger from Paris and the London-based landscape architecture firm Djao-Rakitine Ltd, we developed a dialogical landscape concept that leverages the site’s distinctive features. The German concept of “Heimat” (home) stands for our holistic approach, representing not just a place but also a feeling and an awareness encompassing the past, present, and future. Our project offers solutions that honor the site’s history, create captivating experiences, and lay the groundwork for the ongoing revitalization and use of the Zincoli site.

Creating a strong axis

With “Heimatblick,” we developed an iconic and engaging masterplan for Stolberg’s new commercial area. A clear east-west axis leading to Zinkhütter Hof organizes the quarter and highlights the synergies between the business park’s economic activities and the cultural district. To the east, a series of landscaped terraces provides a picturesque garden-like setting around the historic villa, linking the town square with the museum courtyard. Alongside, a ramp to the south ensures a smooth, barrier-free pedestrian connection between these two key destinations. The new structures emphasize the borders of the main axis and central square, featuring urban frontages and rear courtyards for businesses. Echoing the site’s industrial past, the design introduces a modular framework that allows for halls and offices to be flexibly configured as groups of standalone units or interspersed with open spaces, depending on the needs.

Making a statement

The square itself is envisioned as a vibrant communal space that welcomes pedestrians, cyclists, and delivery traffic for the commercial halls. Inspired by traditional work yards, this expansive area by the Zincoli chimney features large recycled concrete slabs interspersed with grass joints and structured with diverse landscaping elements. The “Island of Wilderness” lets vegetation flourish in a wild, experimental fashion, while a network of planted troughs manages rainwater through drainage and retention. The sculpted lawn becomes a social gathering place and event venue. The “Stairway to Heaven” viewing platform is a unique, site-specific addition offering new vistas from its position over the central area. We will transform the Zincoli chimney into a striking light installation. Optical lenses will capture the sunlight, channeling it through reflective tubes down to a small fountain within its deepest chamber, bathing the once-dim interior in a radiant glow. At night, this fountain will be lit up, and mirrors at the chimney’s top will reflect this light outward, turning the chimney into a dazzling new beacon for the region.

Project team