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Reininghaus Masterplan | 1. Prize Invited Competition 2009 | Masterplan completed 2010

Creating a natural and urban identity

Dormant for many years, the Graz Reininghaus brewery site represents a lucky chance for the city to give this vast, empty area of land a new lease of life. Squeezed between high-density urban development on one side and a sprawl of family houses on the other, Reininghaus has the potential to become the heart of this area, creating from scratch a new identity and focus that will inject life into the west of Graz as a whole.

As consultants in the planning process, Atelier Thomas Pucher determined clear principles to guarantee that the best use is made of the site in its regeneration. At the same time, the framework was intentionally left open, so that a fluid range of uses is not ruled out in the future. Flexibility and diversity were defining themes.

The chief aim is for the area to be mixed use with housing and workplaces throughout, so achieving a diverse range of ages, classes and so on. It should not be entirely social housing; neither should it be a luxury yuppy development. It should certainly not be mono-functional, filled exclusively with housing. To ensure this, the Reininghaus plot will be parcelled up into public areas and smaller, self-contained districts. There is also scope for the area to grow organically over time, in a natural process.

A central esplanade is planned around the main strip of Alte Post Strasse, a public plaza with highrise buildings and a richly dense urban structure. To echo the open and multi-faceted character of the place, the zones at the base of the buildings will be accentuated, with raised floor height and arcades at ground level. The area to one side of this main axis will be for cars, the other for public transport (including trams). Throughout the site, a Manhattan-style grid will create flexible interconnections and make it easy to get around.

There will also be a central park, a large expanse of green surrounded by smaller, high-density districts. 10% of the whole area must be public and green, with the onus being on developers to finance and maintain smaller parks within residential areas. By following this model, the central city area has the potential to achieve an ideal mix of harmonious natural and urban qualities.