Osnabrück, Germany

Opening up a former freight yard

Karres en Brands, together with Blauraum and Green Box have won the first prize in the competition for the development of a 20ha former freight yard area, LokViertel, in Osnabrück, Germany. LokViertel’s vicinity to Osnabrück’s Hauptbahnhof makes it in potential one of the most important gateways to the city. Due to its past use, the transformation area has traditionally been an isolated area. Numerous of visible and invisible boundaries, from train tracks, roads, water bodies, and earth layers made the area appear as a foreign area within the urban fabric. Our priority was to break down these boundaries and integrate the area into the urban fabric, while preserving the identity of the site.

Zooming out the green ecological frameworks of Osnabrück are strongly visible. Together with the Hase river, they form the basis of the green loop. The river functions not only as the main connecting element of the two worlds: the historic city centre of Osnabrück and the new LokViertel district, but as well as a scenic route through Osnabrück, crossing numerous sights. 

The architectural heritage of LokViertel, the so-called hidden gems, act as anchor points for the new quarter’s identity. Combined with newly built structures, the story and history of the place unfolds. The period of industrialization and the extensive use of the area is used as a starting point of a new narrative in dealing with resources and nature. The old freight station will be transformed into the green heart of the new district - the central park. Part of the station’s platforms and warehouses are being preserved and will be reused for the central market, an event hall and a greenhouse, to stimulate local urban food produce. 



The design reversed the challenges of a disconnected island, within a network of roads and train tracks, and created the foundation of a 15-minute city concept. Within 15 min, everyone should be able to reach everything they need for life from their apartment on foot or by bike – from the workplace, through shopping, to culture. This is achieved through two main elements – the mobility loop and the green loop. Two mobility nodes placed at the beginning of the mobility loop provide parking space for all motorized traffic, keeping the inner part of the quarter car-free. From this point, the Ring Boulevard acts as the main link, providing space for zero-emission and autonomous vehicles. On the other hand, the Green Loop bundles the pedestrian and bicycle paths and connects them to further surroundings.

The basis of our robust framework is defined by the linear character of the distant views framed by train tracks. This simple but clear grid provides flexibility for the unknown future and leaves room for innovative programs and typological diversity. The new LokViertel neighborhood will show resourcefulness at every turn. From e-mobility, through solar panels, to rainwater retention. Ultimately, this abandoned site will become a vibrant and diverse new neighborhood where innovation and sustainability are promoted in all aspects.

Project data
Location ​Osnabrück, Germany Google Maps
Assignment ​Masterplan and design public space
Size ​20 ha
Status ​1st prize competition
Client ​Lok-Viertel-OS GmbH
In collaboration with ​Blauraum, Green Box
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