Redevelopment Lokomotiv site in Leverkusen
Mei architects and planners is one of four international offices that, after a preselection, was invited by Cube Real Estate to develop a plan for the adaptive reuse of a former locomotive plant of the Lokhalle Leverkusen: Werk Opladen, near Leverkusen in Germany.
Inside this impressive industrial hall, designed in 1899, locomotives and carriages were being repaired ever since 1903. Many people from Leverkusen worked here. Accordingly, many generations of professionals centered their lives around Opladen. After the closing of the factory in 2003, with which over a 1000 people lost their jobs, this chapter came to an end. With the upcoming transformation, the buildings that symbolize the pride of Opladen hold a new and bright future with a challenging and flexible program.
Mei’s vision is to turn the site into a flourishing and integral new neighbourhood within the city. This masterplan aims at helping the site become a unique and lively place for living, working, leisure and education.
The Lokhalle 3 will be the central meeting place, a nice area packed with history. This hall will be entirely preserved, with its raw concrete floor, old construction characteristics, and especially the space and light that comes from the glass inside the façades and roof. The original façades on the west, north, and east side will be preserved because of their historic value. They will be restored where needed to serve the program meant for the space. Together with the new building projects, it will form a beautiful composition of old and new. Next to preserving values such as light and space and the existing construction, greenery will be added to improve the climate and acoustics inside the space.
The program of the hall is very flexible and easily adaptable in the future. It contains of 2000m2 space for open functions. As it is a semi-outdoor space, strongly connected with the surroundings and local community. It is also very well suited for local events such as a Christmas market, a gathering of the local carnival association, or the live screening of sports events. The Lokhalle offers many possibilities offered for closed functions, such as fitness, that residents, students, and employees from the TH and offices can make use of.
The hall is accessible from all sides of the building, as well as from the underground parking garage. The south side of the hall is connected to the Boulevard and the TH through a park. Through this park, the original railways also enters the building, and will remain visible in the flooring inside the building. From the ceiling hangs the so called ‘Sonderstück’, a beautiful locomotive from the old days.
On the north side at the spot of the former Hallenschiffe 1 and 2 are five residential buildings consisting of six storeys.
These residential buildings contain of a royal entrance hall attached to the Lokhalle, and are also accessible from the parking garage. These buildings are flexible in their layout. They are industrial in character, to fit in with the current expression of the Lokhalle Leverkusen.
Each apartment has a private garden on the ground floor and a large terrace, as well as big windows for a stunning view. All dwellings lie adjacent to an inner courtyard and are east and west oriented, through which its residents will be able to enjoy both the morning and evening sun. The gardens are shared and will each have their own theme based on the people living in the adjacent units.
On the south side, at the spot of the former Hallenschiffe 4 and 5, are four efficient office buildings adjacent to a public park.
Each of these buildings are designed within the same design scheme. The location makes them very suitable for businesses that are related to the TH. Their design is very flexible. For instance, they have a depth of 13,5 metres, and the spaces are column free. They have been design with a cost-efficient method. The buildings are, like the residential buildings, connected to the Lokhalle and have a royal entrance hall. Because the Lokhalle offers many possibilities for meetings and gatherings, the office building concept is quite strong. Two green outdoor office spaces at the roof of the parking garage between the office buildings are available for use when the weather allows it.
On the south side of the entrance hall will be a special restaurant, on walking distance for the residential units. Old beams will be preserved, and with a glass roof on top this space becomes a beautiful conservatory-like restaurant. The restaurant will have an outside terrace during the afternoon and evening, as well as a unique terrace inside the Lokhalle Leverkusen.
The architecture of new buildings will be reminiscent of post-war architecture: positive in design and with pride for the reconstruction of the area. There will be a subtle difference between the façade design for the residential buildings and that for the office buildings. Nevertheless, all structures will form one ensemble. The facades are made out of brick with a red glow, which will contrast slightly with the existing façades. The openings allow for plenty of light to enter, and also provide a beautiful view of the existing buildings and the gardens. These multiple vistas thus strengthen the connection with the Lokhalle Leverkusen.