Prosperity of Klaipėda as a city is mostly connected to the 19th century well-developed timber trade rather than its fortress or harbor status. This trade, for which the port was also used, had strengthened the city and led to its development and flourish. The Memel City teritory was the location, where timber loading and production had once taken place. This is witnessed also by the names such as Holz Strasse – “Timber Street” – as could be seen in old maps. The location was also famous for its very specific mills – sawmills.
Due to such circumstances, the name of „Holz Hafen“ – Timber Harbor – and the related semantic image has been chosen for the development of this urban and architectural concept. It has served as a basis for interpretation of this historical location identity elements by providing a new quality and architectural expression to them. Due to this a timber facture has been selected for designing architecture and public spaces. The design proposal also suggests the existing port cranes to be remade into new type mills – wind power-plants to produce electricity for the new district.
The present situation of the territory under development is not favorable in respect of the remaining city. It has been isolated from other parts of the town by former industrial port function and intense traffic street, thus forming “an island” phenomenon. The key idea for the new stage of development is „Regenerating Urban Island“, where the existing “island” is converted into a unique urbanized territory on the water with its strong identity and high added value, which could determine its attractiveness. The newly formed urban tissue in the design proposal is developed so that it could match to the urban structure of the Down Town of Klaipeda by its scale and directions to interpret rather than exactly repeat its different scales.
The development of the territory, spaces and spatial channels are arranged in such a way that they could eliminate strong wind streams formation. Passages through public function units on the ground floors are formed as Z-shaped wind catchers. The development inside the territory is formed by avoiding long corridors and streets and making extra wind obstacles by the end of each tract.
The existing public space system in the Down Town of Klaipėda has certain regularities: the most of its public spaces are located along the river Danė and possess a visual relation to it. The river Danė in this case serves as a connector or connecting axis. As new possibilities for conversion of former industrial port territories emerge, the city and water relation could be strengthened by restoring the tradition of Klaipėda as “a city on water”.
Status: International master plan competition „Memel city“, 1rst place
Site: Klaipėda (LT)
Total floor area: 165 000 sq.m
Site area: 68 766 sq.m