Zwickau Productive Update




+++ NEWS: We are happy to announce that we won the 1st Prize in the “Europan 14 – Productive Cities” competition for our project “ZWICKAU PRODUCTIVE UPDATE”  +++

ISSSresearch&architecture collaborated with Ferdinand Schmelzer  and Lena Flamm for the international architecture and urban design competition “Europan 14 – Productive Cities” for the site in Zwickau, Germany. Our team developed and proposed the project ZWICKAU PRODUCTIVE UPDATE and was awarded the 1st prize.

Project Team:
Architects: Ingrid Sabatier-Schwarz, Ferdinand Schmelzer & Stephan Schwarz
Landscape Architects: Lena Flamm

competition on —> Competitionline
Europan Europe —> Europan Europe
Europan Germany —> Europan Germany

The productive update proposed for the new district Zwickau Paradies concentrates on three essential transformations:
1. Based on its tradition as a car city, Zwickau becomes an important real scale lab for future mobility
2. By implementing new typologies of working, dwelling and urban fabrication a mix-used strip along Katharinenstraße is created. The reorganization into a shared space at human scale is the backbone of Zwickau Paradies.
3. Integrating productive green systems into the urban fabric improves the quality of life and contributes to climate resilient urban environments.


2030 Future Mobility

Step by step towards a productive future, Zwickau’s city center becomes a shared space and car free zone. Initial e-car sharing systems and electric cargo bikes for delivery operate from two mobility hubs. Besides positive effects on the cities’ climate, this measure allows to green courtyards and vitalize former traffic areas for people.

Extensions to the existing buildings provide space for urban production. This pilot project offers units for digitalized fabrication combined with new housing typologies, optimal conditions for innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs working on rapid prototyping f.e. for the local mobility businesses.


2040 Urban space at human scale

The urban design strategy promotes three principles:
1. Reshaping public space at human scale
2. Small scale densification on vacant plots
3. Transformation of existing buildings by adding new qualities
Based on these ideas the productive strip providing spaces for actors of the productive city, such as FabLabs, Co-working, fabrication, repair shops, and local businesses. Introducing new housing typologies to large-scale courtyards subdivides them into residential community spaces. Former parking lots are transformed into green infrastructures. The car park becomes a vertical farm for circular food production. Green productive pockets reconnect the river, Zwickau Paradies and the old town. Lakes as natural water retention areas collect and clean rainwater for circular uses like watering and toilet flushes.

SCHEMAS_ZWICKAU_A1WEB22050 City & nature in symbiosis 



Extending the existing tunnel allows to create an urban river meadow with 9ha wetlands as a contemporary interpretation of the historic relation between city and river. Positive effects are the creation of a unique natural habitat for biodiversity as well as natural flood protection and housing locations embracing the productive symbiosis of city & nature.


Report of the Jury
The authors propose three steps of transformation in the period of time from 2030 to 2050: transforming the exis- ting district of multi-storey residential buildings, forming new districts, and creating new housing typologies. This results in the structural and functional restructuring of the project area. Through partially deconstructing the re- sidential buildings, it succeeds in developing – with res- pect to scale – new, structures that are more compatible in terms of urban development and that are oriented in a positive way towards the historical half of the old city that borders to the west. The step-like partial deconstruction of the eleven-storey buildings ensures that the historical old city along with the cathedral and Katharinenkirche, which characterise the cityscape, become more visible. As a result of the creation of new path connections through reforming districts, the Zwickau Mulde becomes easier to experience and therefore a greater part of urban life than before. Plausible development steps are also presented for the river basin and show the potential that exists here.
The theme of “productivity” is largely limited to “green productivity” in the form of an urban farm in place of the current car park, the creation of green spaces, and roof greening for local food production as well as the use of solar energy. The realisations of a productive mixed-use strip along Kathrinenstrasse are designed quite generally. The idea of a car-free zone with two mobility focuses with respect to e-mobility helps reinforce the idea of protec- ting the climate and conserving resources.

Beurteilung durch das Preisgericht
Die Verfasser schlagen drei Transformationsstufen im Zeitraum 2030 bis 2050 vor, die bestehenden Quartiere des Geschosswohnungsbaus umzuwandeln, neue Quartiere zu bilden und neue Wohnungstypologien zu schaffen. Das Ergebnis ist eine strukturelle und funktionale Neuordnung des Projektgebietes. Durch Teilrückbau der Wohnhochhäuser gelingt es, hinsichtlich Maßstäblichkeit neue, städtebaulich verträglichere Strukturen zu entwickeln, die sich an der westlich angrenzenden historischen Altstadthälfte gut orientieren. Der treppenartige Teilrückbau der Elfgeschosser bewirkt, dass die historische Altstadt mit dem stadtbildprägenden Dom und der Katharinenkirche besser sichtbar wird.
Durch Schaffung neuer Wegebeziehungen mittels Neubildung der Quartiere wird die Zwickauer Mulde erlebbarer und wird so mehr als vorher Teil des städtischen Lebens. Auch für den Flussraum werden nachvollziehbare Entwicklungsschritte aufgezeigt und das hier vorhandene Potenzial aufgezeigt.
Das Thema „Produktivität“ beschränkt sich im Wesentlichen auf die „grüne Produktivität“ in Form einer urban farm anstelle des jetzigen Parkhauses, dem Anlegen von Grünflächen und Dachbegrünung zur lokalen Lebensmittelproduktion sowie der Nutzung der Sonnenenergie. Die Ausführungen eines produktiven Mischnutzungsstreifens entlang der Katharinenstraße sind eher allgemein gehalten. Die Idee einer autofreien Zone mit zwei Mobilitätsschwerpunkten hinsichtlich E-Mobilität dient der Stärkung des Gedankens der Klima- und Ressourcenschonung.