The future of urban development is green, sustainable, and collective. Woodhood, a convincing proposal for the future of Kreuzfeld in Cologne, presented by team Karres and Brands and ADEPT along with Argus and Metabolic, pays tribute to Ebenezer Howard’s famous plan. However, Woodhood is more than the classic garden city. It is a vision for a new typology of urban development, one that requires a novel approach to urban planning – it is a bold, fresh look at urban development that diminishes the separation between city and landscape. Rooted in the landscape Unlike the conventional approach in which the urban framework is defined by typologies, buildings, streets, or even technology, the plan for Woodhood originated from the landscape. The underlying structure of the district is formed by the varied pre-existing landscapes, such as the historical forest structures and the man-made structures that have arisen through agricultural use. Woodhood interconnects large-scale landscape structures and thus creates a varied network of varying landscapes, each with their own characteristics. This new natural infrastructure extends through the entire area and connects recreational spaces with ecological passages – rooting the district in the landscape context. Kreuzfelder hoods Woodhood is not a conventional extension of the existing city but rather a district in its own right. Based on the different landscapes, Woodhood is structured as a polycentric ecosystem of many neighbourhoods – the Kreuzfelder hoods. Based on the landscape, each hood will have its own profile and character, and the landscape will define how the district deals with water collection, buffering, and climate adaptation. The hoods are concentrated clusters of urbanity that leave maximum space for nature and make optimal use of the quality of the landscape. As a whole, they form a cohesive city. Community as heart of the city The Woodhood design combines urban densification with the feeling of a village community in nature. By minimizing private spaces and paying attention to the quality of the public space, emphasizing slow connections, and creating collective functions, we encourage people to meet each other and create communities. In doing so, each hood accommodates a variety of building typologies for living, working, education, and gathering, giving different residents, regardless of income and stage of life, the freedom to define their personal ‘living space’ in the Woodhood. Living in Woodhood is living with nature Woodhood represents our ambition to create a truly sustainable neighbourhood – a city that is able to generate its own energy and produce some of its food and construction materials locally. In this interplay between conservation, maintenance, connection, activation and use, a new regenerative, productive landscape emerges. The landscape structure of forests and fields provides space for active and recreational programmes while also forming a complex ecosystem for climate adaptation, ecology, and local resources such as raw materials and food. Along with a very ambitious plan for extensive recycling and reuse of materials, our vision is to minimize waste and promote a circular society.
Since 1997 Karres en Brands has worked on diverse projects, studies and competitions, both at home and abroad. Our work encompasses every scale of spatial design, from area strategies and infrastructural projects to parks and gardens, and from urban planning assignments to product design. With this we rely on our enthusiasm and craftsmanship, and we continuously broaden our outlook towards developing appropriate and innovative responses to the challenges of today.
With a view to a sustainable, comfortable and healthy living environment – now and in the future – we envision important undertakings in design. Challenges such as climate change, energy issues and demographic developments require a smart and thoughtful approach. The trick is to not generate fixed conceptions, but rather to create powerful conditions and to leave room for spontaneity. We make plans with a robust structure in which space is given to natural and human processes.