Hoheward - The Landscape Park A project with new horizons

Obelisk und Horizontobservatorium © 2008 Freese

Obelisk und Horizontobservatorium © 2008 Freese

Since 2004, on behalf of the Ruhr Regional Association (RVR) and the cities of Herten and Recklinghausen, and in cooperation with RAG Deutsche Steinkohle, we have supervised the landscape park and in particular the Hoheward tailings pile (area approx. 160 ha, height approx. 100 m) from outline planning through design and execution planning to construction supervision, helping to realise the planning idea (New Horizons Masterplan) of Agence Ter, Prof. Henri Bava, Paris/Karlsruhe with a design concept inspired by the idea.

The planning included open spaces and civil engineering in difficult topographical conditions (tailings pile, realisation in the parallel running, meanwhile completed dumping operation) as well as terrain design with supports, square and path construction on slopes, ramps and stairs ("Gabionen-Steige"), special horizontal astronomical structures (sundial, horizon observatory). All activities in the work phases 1-9 were carried out by ourselves. The planning of steel constructions (obelisk, horizon arches, gates, balconies, gallery, bridges) was carried out by specialist engineers and architects. The landscape planning (landscape conservation planning / species protection assessment / forest conversion) was carried out by ourselves. Extensive compensation and species protection measures were carried out with our planning and construction supervision on the basis of an existing care and development plan (PEPL) in the nature reserve "Emscherbruch / Ewaldsee".

Hoheward - The landscape park has developed in 12 years to one of the "Top Five" projects in the Emscher Landscape Park.

The basic structure of the design of the landscape park is convincingly simple and clearly structured. Following the "New Horizons", the ring promenade (lowest horizon), the balcony promenade (middle horizon) and the top horizon (highest horizon) form the core elements of the development and design and at the same time allow the layering of the landscape to be experienced. The promenades are supplemented by serpentines, stairs and gabion walkways, which, following the human urge, lead directly to the top horizon in continuation of the star-shaped connections to the slag heap. The result is an access system that differs fundamentally from the previous path systems on other slagheaps. The top horizon, as a huge plateau, with a length of 600 m (in the final state), offers a unique panorama and the feeling of being in a place "where heaven and earth touch".
For the landscape park, a design language of its own has been developed with the object planning, which is just as convincingly simple and clearly structured. The softly curved paths, which follow the course of the terrain and slope, and the elongated path axes, which run along former lanes and railway tracks, are contrasted with clear geometric shapes (triangle, rectangle and circle), which stand for certain functions: Triangle = turning point / hairpin bend in the path, Rectangle = space / place to stay, Circle = ideal shape of the horizon astronomy. As a recurring element, they become trademarks of the landscape park.
The design is always functional and interacts with the austere beauty of the slag heap reclamation with its slag heap forest and succession areas as well as ruderal and meadow areas. The vegetative design therefore focuses on "park maintenance". View corridors open up new perspectives, flowering shrubs mark the edges. Horizons are clearly defined, find a clear demarcation between closed (forest) and open (meadow). Area plantings calm the eye, are in proportion to the enormous dimension of the slag heap. Specific accents are set at the starting points and the approaches to the slag heap. In spring, the cherry blossoms shine here.
Fractured stone gabions run through the landscape park like a red thread. They appear in the stony heap material as a consistent building and design material: functionally for slope protection, architecturally as an enclosure and practically as a robust seat. With a grating overlay, they become a gabion walkway that follows the course of the slope with all its gradient changes up to the top horizon. This construction, developed for the first time for this slag heap location, is convincing (more cost-effective than a (steel) staircase, more durable than a wooden construction, more sure-footed, as steps remain free of debris, simpler foundation, as anchoring with existing material, more flexible with changes in gradient) and corresponds, especially after the desired growth, to the extensive character of a walkway.
Two installations of horizon astronomy on the top of the Hoheward slag heap represent a special feature: Sundial with obelisk and horizon observatory with aequartor and meridian arc (idea/ concept: Initiativkreis Horizontastronomie im Ruhrgebiet e.V.). On the sundial the movement of the sun, the change of day and night as well as the phenomenon of time can be experienced sensually, while in the neighbouring horizon observatory, the new landmark of the Ruhr area, the rhythms of planetary and stellar objects can be experienced by own observations. Both sites are also destinations for visitors to ascend and extraordinary places to stay.
Hoheward - The Landscape Park. is a joint project of the Ruhr Regional Association with the cities of Herten and Recklinghausen in cooperation with RAG Deutsche Steinkohle.
The construction project is co-financed by the European Union - European Fund for Regional Development.
The project is supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia within the framework of the ecology program in the Emscher-Lippe region by the district government of Münster.
The developer of the joint project on the Hoheward slag heap is the Regionalverband Ruhr, Essen.

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Planning offices

Freese Landschaftsarchitektur

Project period
(2000) 2004 - 2015

rd. 160 ha

Construction amount
rd. 25 Mio. EUR (Gesamtkosten 1.-3. BA)

RVR Regionalverband Ruhr, Essen

45699 Herten

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Project type
Parks and green spaces