Recreational Architecture Spaces for sports and movement

Parkdeck Göttingen
Parkdeck Göttingen | Photo: Fabian Lippert

Transforming the city into a playground and using its unique locations and spaces for sports and movement has long since ceased to be a mere youthful dream of freedom. Increasing numbers of people desire convertible public spaces for movement and architectures that harbour more than just one function.

The Leinewelle is a new sports and recreation project that surfing fans wish to set up in the heart of Hanover at the foot of a palace remodelled by Georg Laves in the 19th century and today is a building complex used by the Landtag (state parliament) of Lower Saxony. In 2013, architect Heiko Heybey presented initial plans for a stationary wave directly in front of the Leinewehr at the Landtag.

River Surfing

At this location, the Leine River will be lined with a concrete bed and tartan polyurethane sheeting covering. If the width of the water course is reduced, the flow velocity is increased and the water can surge over two barriers into two stationary waves. A staircase in the river wall on the Leibnitzufer offers space for spectators to relax and cheer on their friends. The model for this concept is the Eisbach in Munich, which not only delights river surfers from around the world, but has also become a magnet for tourists. Many like-minded people from other parts of Germany as well have long since been sharing thoughts and ideas about the use of urban water courses for sports and recreation. For far too long, river and stream landscapes have been neglected or rendered invisible by sinking them underground to serve as subterranean aqueducts.
 
  • Leinewelle Hannover rendering: © Eric Meier
    Leinewelle Hannover
  • Leinewelle Hannover rendering: © Eric Meier
    Leinewelle Hannover
  • Badeschiff Berlin Credits: Arena Berlin Betriebs GmbH
    Badeschiff Berlin
  • Badeschiff Berlin Credits: Arena Berlin Betriebs GmbH
    Badeschiff Berlin
  • Fechthalle Göttingen Photo: Judith Kara
    Fechthalle Göttingen
  • Fechthalle Göttingen Photo: Judith Kara
    Fechthalle Göttingen
  • Parkdeck Göttingen Photo: Christine Erhard
    Parkdeck Göttingen
  • Parkdeck Göttingen Photo: Fabian Lippert
    Parkdeck Göttingen
  • Parkdeck Göttingen Photo: Christine Erhard
    Parkdeck Göttingen
  • Parkdeck Göttingen Photo: Christine Erhard
    Parkdeck Göttingen
 

Water - to be experienced and felt

Today, in the context of debates revolving around urban re-densification, the redefinition of these central riparian spaces seems logical for improving the quality of life for residents and making the water something to be experienced and felt once again. The creators of the Berlin’s floating swimming pool, the Badeschiff have also adopted the concept of utilisation of the recreational factor at the water’s edge right in the heart of the city. The Badeschiff’s design originated in an interdisciplinary art competition and was realised in 2004 by AMP Arquitectos, Wilk-Salinas Architekten together with architect Thomas Freiwald and artist Susanne Lorenz. They transformed an old, non-motorised sand and gravel barge into a 32 metre long pool and had it filled with clean water as a floating swimming pool on the Spree, firmly anchored on the river bank. While swimming one can enjoy the view out onto the river and the water surfaces of the Spree and those of the pool seem to overlap.

Spaces for “physical training and character-building of youth”

City-dwellers have established riverside bathing facilities, floating swimming pools, and spaces for movement, sports and play even prior to the modern era: ball courts, areas for tournaments, equestrian sports and archery – they were joined by numerous gymnasiums and playing fields for cultivating “able-bodied manliness, physical discipline and character-building of youth” in the 19th century, in the wake of the gymnastics movement set in motion by “Turnvater” Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852). Fencing halls were particularly part of the urban landscape in university and military locations. One of these fencing halls has survived in the Geiststrasse in Göttingen’s city centre. Since its renovation in 2007, the half-timbered building from the turn of the 20th century is used by the ballet school “art la danse” and as a non-commercial cultural centre for events and a wide range of art forms such as music, dance, literature and theatre. It is a space full of bright clarity and concentration. The interior of the hall is visible from the street and set in close relationship with the park landscape of the old ramparts by means of large windows.

Individual spaces for sports and activity

Parcouring, skateboarding, inline skating, tricking, slacklining, highfall, crossgolf and bouldering are contemporary types of movement and sport in the midst of urban landscapes. In this context, young people are assigning new uses to concrete surfaces, railings, bridges, walls, roofs, driveways and spaces between buildings. Young people need above all protection, withdrawal, self-determination, spaces for image cultivation and communication – far more than they need standardised sport or gaming devices. In the social flash point Grone in Göttingen, Berlin architects Lippert Kavelly have redesigned an old car park from the 1970’s into a neighbourhood square and place where young people have not only abundant open spaces, but also a stage for their activities. Staircases of precast concrete parts, a zigzag ramp, sparely furnished with two high pergolas of steel as rain cover and a multiple-use bench seat, with bright colours on the ground, lines and forms suggesting pathways and fields offer a non-standardised and above all individually useable and convertible space.