In the heart of Duisburg, a post-industrial town in the Ruhr area, the König-Heinrich Square offered an ambivalent space, half main square and half quiet little park. It had broad, much-frequented lawn spaces and it adjoined a lively pedestrian zone. With a series of new amenities under construction (a convention center, a casino and a shopping center), the city envisioned re-arranging this pre- cinct to make it more urban and representative.
The landscape architects of Agence Ter won the subsequent competition with a project ins- pired by the luxuriant green of the existing square. They considered that an ample expanse of lawn in no way conflicted with the location at the center of town, and was even a major luxury in so dense an urban fabric; they therefore preserved the existing grass expanse. At the same time they refused to be satisfied with grass pure and simple. By subtly multiplying and refining their horizons and adjusting heights and border lines, they contrived to create a calm, elegant space that was both simple in concept and easy to maintain. Thus the square is occupied, at its center, by ‘raised pastures’ whose metal edges create an effect of levitation with the shadows they throw.
At night, this floating effect is emphasized by the lighting arrangements, which consist of illu- minated bands set into the ground beneath the overhanging metal edges. At intervals along these edges are benches of white Corian that invite you to sit and watch the people passing between and across swaths of green – which in spring are made colorful by crocuses planted in the grass.