Department stores, once the “cathedrals of retail“, have become problematic urban zones due to the rapidly increasing volume of online retail. As an alternative to the monoliths that were mostly built in the 60s to 80s of the last century, new concepts with small-scale structures are needed that allow the broadest possible mix of flexible uses in addition to traditional retail and give the ideal of urban diversity a contemporary form.
In place of the former Karstadt building, the NEUmarkt Bielefeld project proposes an ensemble of 4 differently formed structures grouped around a covered market place.
The open arcades, oriented towards the market place, provide a zoned and well-tempered transition between the areas of public use and the desired intimacy of the individual consumer experience. The courtyard-side green facades are accompanied with generous greenery on the marketplace.
The spatial structure of the pedestal zone allows for a variety of uses that are reflected in the spatial program of the entire neighborhood, which includes retail, space for restaurants, services, offices and apartments.
This mix, in combination with the unique location between the shopping street and the historic core, promises to become a place with a strong identity and high quality of stay. The urban presence of the quarter is characterized by the staggering of the proposed high-rise building and the corresponding structure of the courtyard-side facades, which give the cubatures the specific character of a green urban oasis once covered with vegetation.