The Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen

 

/

 

Formerly a sewer with sheet-pile walls, the Lanferbach now runs by the Schungelberg estate in a leisurely fashion.

 

Most of the planners from elsewhere had to get used to two things over the ten years of the International Building Exhibition at Emscher Park: first to the stock of language that had emerged in Germany’s melting pot, borrowing all kinds of vocabulary that would other­wise be unfamiliar from the various immigrant groups. And to a kind of per­son that does not take at lot of things particularly seriously. For example, all the tillefitt, or fuss, about the IBA. Many of these have still not realized that a building exhibition took place in the Ruhr at all, and that countless projects were completed or considered that had a great deal of influence on the local people’s living conditions. It is only when your own front garden has been decontaminated or an almost com­pletely natural stream appears instead of a concrete drainage gutter that even the people who didn’t particularly care – it was all ‘six of one’ or ‘jacket or trou­sers’, as the German expression has it – that the landscape had taken a turn for the better. It is possible to walk around in it again, to experience it.

One project that became known well beyond the boundaries of the Ruhr is in Gelsenkirchen. A Jugendstil estate in front of the giant Rungenberg spoil heap, also known as Mount Slag, was redeveloped and tastefully complemen­ted with slender terraced housing. The Schungelberg housing estate for miners had previously been grey, surrounded by dismal green, and bordered by an open, evil-smelling sewer. After redevelop­ment the complex felt completely dif­ferent – also helped by attractive open spaces. These appear in the form of nicely proportioned streets, attractive gardens and above all a park which came into being as part of a new rain­water concept. The Lanferbach had previously been a canalized stream in which contaminated water from the Rungenberg slag heap flowed towards the river Emscher. Today the liquid

 

The Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen

Before it was redesigned the Lanferbach was forced into a concrete corset and ran through a fenced-off area – ‘Danger – No Entry’ was the order of the day.

 

Overflow of one of the overgrown infiltration swales

 

The Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen

The steps by the bed of the stream invite people to stay for a while and play.

An old brick wall was used for their construction.

 

The Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen

Site management in the mud of Monte Schlacko

 

The Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in GelsenkirchenThe Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in GelsenkirchenThe Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in GelsenkirchenThe Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in GelsenkirchenThe Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in GelsenkirchenThe Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen

The Lanferbach at Schungelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen

 

poison flows out of a collective drain into a sewer. This opened up the way for water management in which rainwater from the SchQngelberg estate flows first through various purification stages and retention basins, and is then released in a controlled way into the restored and completely redesigned Lanferbach. Street water runs straight into the retention basins by the Lanferbach and seeps towards the stream through water-bearing strata.

A valuable biotope will develop along a length of just under 800 metres, but this is not all. In fact the estate residents have acquired a new park, which is used a great deal, especially by the large proportion of Turkish inhabitants. Steps intended as seats, built of re-used bricks, draw austere lines in the otherwise gently contoured park landscape. These are the meeting places, which are reached via winding pathways that adapt to the natural design of the park. And the final benefit from the new design is that existing harmful waste was disposed of safely, which at least for the residents of the SchQngelberg estate is not schissko – jedno – which is derived from the Polish wszystko jedno, and means roughly the same as ‘jacket or trousers’.

 

The Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen

Infiltration swale under construction. Water started to accumulate here even in the building phase.

 

Street water is filtered and purified in retention basins that are integrated into the design, then fed under­ground to the stream.

 

-e-

 

Along with the Rungenberg slag heap, which has now been planted, the Lanfer – bach now functions as a coherent public park area, and is used by the residents for all kinds of activities.

 

The Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in GelsenkirchenThe Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in GelsenkirchenThe Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in GelsenkirchenThe Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen

The Lanferbach at SchQngelberg estate in Gelsenkirchen