Set relatively in the middle of the city of Münster, Germany, the site and facilities of the former Oxford Barracks have been generally off-limits to the public for over 80 years. The major focus of the competition-winning proposal from Kèrè Architecture is to sustainably reclaim the space for current city needs as well as future possibilities. With equal objectives of conservation of resources and projection of potentials, the proposal makes use of many existing surfaces and buildings by giving them new purpose and expanding public access.
The historic buildings, fragments and traces make a fruitful starting point for future sustainable developments of the Oxford barracks. New additions are carefully and respectfully set within the former military compound, which has been a part of the residential Gievenbeck district of west Münster since 1936. An existing clock tower, former military training grounds, and masonry wall surrounding the complex are preserved and repurposed for the needs of this vibrant residential quarter. The proposal renegotiates the static and restrictive military architecture by reinvigorating the space with a variety of flexible housing options for students, families, and special needs residents such as the elderly. All habitations are designed with special consideration for adjacent green spaces, adaptable to the needs and interests of residents with respect to scale and privacy.
A new central boulevard is introduced, reconnecting the area with the existing urban fabric. As Münster is often considered the bicycle capital of Germany, a variety of new bike and foot paths encourage sustainable mobility through the area. New transportation hubs for public buses, car-sharing and EV charging stations are also added.
For the future water management of the site, the proposal removes a large percentage of the current paved ground in favor of a more permeable and environmentally-responsive ground cover. This strategy also facilitates the gradual reintroduction of wetlands to support a more natural water drainage system. Recreational amenities such as parks, playgrounds, and sports fields reconstitute around a third of the new design. Community-based programming for education, arts, dining and shopping are included, with the historic square for military drills and formations, the Paradeplatz, becoming a new heart for the neighborhood. This space is intended for a revolving schedule of community activities such as concerts, theater productions, flea markets, and outdoor patio dining.
STATUS: In Planning
SITE: Münster / Germany
SIZE: 50 Hectares
CLIENT: City of Münster
AWARDS: 1st Place Competition