A Second Nature Landscape Cospuden
This is an experimental project conceived to test a new approach to urban design. We have built an urban catalyst for future building projects. Our aim was to lay a carpet of landscape territories into the land as the generator and foundation of a future architectural landscape. One might say we have designed the rug, not the picnic. In Mies s words, it is doing almost nothing . The tailoring of this rug and its materiality are the product of a careful reading of the natural and occupational traces in the land from geological time, prehistoric time, the flood protection landscape of the 17th century, the landscape design of the 18th century with its baroque complex of manor house and farm buildings, the coal-mining time of the 20th century, and the post-industrial time of the 21st-century ecological city landscape. It is a site-based and culturally specific time-based approach to the design of a second nature landscape as an architectural infrastructure.
The site is in East Germany in a region of large disused open-cast coal pits that stretch over a 50-km radius south of Leipzig. This landscape will be transformed into a post-industrial recreational city lake landscape over the next 30 years. The Cospuden project is a prototype design for the meanings of these new lakes and for the ways the city is approaching the new lake shores.
Consensus exists among the local community that the mining excavation process should be allowed to give form to the new lake. The basic form of a mining excavation is a long rectangle with a straight edge on one side, where the industrial dinosaur has cut into the land, and a soft wavy edge on the other, where non-coal excavation material has been deposited.