New park in Munich makes innovative use of an unusual site atop a railway bridge
An unusual open space project was opened in the Munich city quarter of Theresienhoehe in June 2010. Built on the thin engineered membrane of a railway bridge construction on the former site of the Munich fair, the project represents an artificial and artistic landscape that is in many respects multilayered and hybrid. Covering a length of 300m and spanning 50m in width, a concrete cover over subterranean train tracks provides a connection between the newly constructed housing complexes.
Due to its construction, the load-bearing capacity of the railway cover is very limited. Therefore, with the exception of the orange concrete walls, all constructions on the railway cover were built using lightweight materials: lightweight geofoam blocks covered with Astroturf or tartan-covered rubber.
This newly developed site incorporates three materials that can also be identified as elements of landscape: a sports and playing area made of rubberised tartan, a moraine formed by lawn and, between them, a large expanse of sand and gravel. Along both sides of the open space green while front-gardens connect the project with the adjacent housing.
The landscape cover is a generous open area accessible from all sides, which not only links the residential areas on both sides by means of imagined movement but also provides a soothing contrast to the density of the adjoining housing developments. It caters towards the sense of being far away within an absurd locality.
The railway cover is a bridge that was never built to have a park put on it. The architects had to deal with the artificiality of the given situation. The site is not connected to the ground beneath it. As a consequence, the design follows a strategy of artificiality. Making the context visible and exploring the possibilities of the artificial are strategies that the place benefit from.