Through a range of strategies and carefully selected interventions the porcelain-city of Selb in the Fichtelgebirge region in Germany will be elevated to a regional center for art, trade, tourism, and culture. The winning Europan 11 proposal, titled Dornröschen – Reinitializing Selb or ‘Kissing awake the sleeping beauty’, by NAP (Network of Architects & Planners) will act as the nucleus for future development. In juxtaposition to the well-established and intact city center around the church and market square, the porcelain factory will be a second center of gravity creating a new and desired field of tension in between both. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The city’s history has always been intertwined with the development of the porcelain industry, in both good and bad times. The drastic revenue decline of the porcelain industry over the last two decades has resulted in a shrinking population and numerous vacancies, particularly in the westerly section of the inner city. On the other hand, the rich industrial heritage which permeates the city’s fabric creates a very attractive base for future development with a sense of identity and cohesion. Superordinate structural measures for traffic routing, the development of a multifunctional park in the vicinity of the porcelain factory, and a compact city park along the renaturalized Selb River initiate a sustainable urban revitalization process. The resulting integral urban network fosters and provides space for individual initiatives, reunites disparate segments of the city, and creates a framework for exploratory development.
The route connecting these two centers will become the main artery of Selb. Sustainable refurbishment, creative conversion, and carefully selected new construction will form a string of pearls along the so-called “porcelain route” to stimulate development in their vicinity. (Re-)opening and upgrading the interiors of the urban blocks will overlay a secondary urban network inviting residents and visitors to leisurely strolls and discovery.
Within the individual architectural interventions emphasis will be placed on the respectful treatment of the existing built environment which embodies the city’s history. While vacant buildings are activated by careful upgrading and imaginative interventions, a small number of distinctive new constructions will be chosen to mark strategic points within the urban network. This will mean no arbitrary implants, but high quality architecture in dialog with the existing urban environment.
Embracing the industrial tradition of Selb will form the basis for a long-term revitalization of the city. Simultaneously the city will be able to sharpen its profile as “the place to be” in the Fichtelgebirge by offering attractive new life/work concepts and room for individual development within established structures. Through this process Porcelain will continue to play a key role.