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19.04.2022 - Ausgabe: 2/2022

The horticultural show is leaving. The park will remain.

By Stefanie Kraus (Landesgartenschau Ingolstadt 2020 GmbH)


Although the Ingolstadt Regional Horticultural Show came to an end on 3 October 2021, the newly developed park in Ingolstadt's northwest will still enrich the city for the generations to come. The aim of the horticultural show was to enhance the quality of life in Ingolstadt's north-western district and to design a new green space for relaxation and recreation - and it succeeded. 

The concept of strengthening the second green ring, finding local recreation, creating a connection and promoting biodiversity will be preserved in the long term by the 23-hectare permanent park. Where commercial and residential buildings otherwise predominate, the public park will serve as a fresh air corridor and improve the city climate for at least 25 years. Before the park opens in spring 2022, the extensive dismantling work of the temporary exhibition contributions is still in process. However, many areas that attracted the visitors during the Horticultural Show will remain permanently. 

The concept for the Ingolstadt Regional Horticultural Show 2020, which took place in 2021, was designed by the Halle an der Saale based landscape architects Därr, who were also responsible for the playground and exercise areas.


Play remains

The Ingolstadt Regional Horticultural Show has been a garden show for everyone - regardless of age, origin, physical and mental capabilities. That's why the garden show grounds are still barrier-free today and offer countless attractions and exceptional playgrounds. Lots of fun and surprise for both young and old will thus be guaranteed.


Water gardens

Approaching the site from the south, the topic of water is addressed in the form of water gardens that emphasize the various aspects of water in the form of plants, animals, technology, art and play and, where necessary, these can be used for the purposes of purification of the site's lake. Visitors can experience water in its many different aspects as they pass through the sequences of thematically and formally discriminated water features shaped as cascades and structured by bridges.

The water is supplied by a reservoir to the south of the gardens that transfers the required water from the spring through a comb-like slotted stone slab to the first basin at an elevation of some 80 cm. The water here is like a smooth table surface spreading out before the gaze of the viewer.

A similar comb-like cascade supplies water to a basin that is more or less on the same level as the pathway. It is possible to cross the water at this point using a series of linear stepping stones. In the following water feature are triangles that look not unlike ice floes drifting between the stiffly upright water plants, hence providing a contrast between horizontal and vertical elements, open and impenetrable spaces on the water surface. This contrast is blurred to some extent by the use of a spray mist system giving a soft focus to the whole by means of the fine water droplets.

While spatial and plant-based structures dominate the appearance of the ‘enchanted garden’, a ford is the main hallmark of the next open water area. This is perhaps the highlight of the water gardens that provides visitors with the opportunity to encounter water in a quite different way. A purification and filter basin with a dense growth of reeds and other plants that is elevated some 50 cm above the level of the pathway is located in the transitional zone leading to the water playground. Various spray mist nozzles are positioned among the plants that provide a differing array of visual effects depending on the weather conditions.


Water playground

The water playground extends to more than 3200 m² and provides for play, fun and exercise. Topographically, this water landscape is raised above the surrounding terrain in the form of abutting, tectonic plates. The result is a dynamic play area consisting of spaces separately dedicated to different types of play, activities and age groups. 

To the south, directly next to the planted, water-regenerating basin, are the ‘tree tops’ of the ‘rainforest’ with its various spray elements that make water rain down on users. This ‘leaf canopy’ of water droplets and spray gives refreshment to young and old. Mobile jets provide cooling of the ground. They can spray horizontally and they can turn around their own axis to create mushroom-like structures composed of water.

Anyone using the linking pathway to the southeast from the terrace of the lakeside café can pass through the water tunnel created by laterally positioned water jets. 

Designed specifically for young children is an area protected by a sun canopy with channels, dam structures and water wheels so that they can follow the flow of the water and influence it to see how it moves and generates energy. Hence, children aged one to three years can dam and redirect the water, use a pump to drive a water wheel, splash about in shallow water or simply enjoy themselves in the sand and mud zone.

In the centre of the water playground are movable water jets, offering the opportunity for the children to amuse themselves by spraying each other. They can use the ropes on the eastern slope of the playground to draw themselves up to the top and conquer the spray forts. 

Even on colder days, the water playground remains a genuine site for adventures. The climbing options here in the form of net bridges, ropeways, swinging spans, wobble plates and viewing cocoons represent challenges for the younger visitors. The climbing wall on the northern border of the play area next to the lake completes the range of play features on offer.

The play areas are covered with colourful, waterproof EPDM surfacing. Exceptions are the pathways and linking elements that, in conformity with the overall concept, are light-coloured concrete bands that wind through the play landscape. The playground is accessible for all via the water tunnel pathway. There are relaxation areas with seating and shade provided by trees next to the main pathways near the various play zones.


The landmark play hills

In the north is the main landmark of the site; two hills connected by a pedestrian bridge that represents the topographical and creative centrepiece of the whole. Emerging from the open space between the commanding industrial and transport structures, this high point restores the overview for visitors and puts the large scale of the surrounding configurations in perspective. 

The hills are the location for a play area with integrative play equipment that can be used by everyone, a site for play that can be experienced with all the senses. Children with and without handicaps can cavort and relax together here. Ropes hang from the bridge that can be used for dangling, climbing through and simply messing with. There is a large, wheelchair-accessible trampoline and a hilly play surface with soft surfacing that extends up the slope, offering everyone – with and without wheelchair – somewhere to play to their hearts' content. All senses are needed to experience the area to the full, equipped as it is with a kaleidoscope, ringing cymbal trees, tubular bells, distorting mirror and funnel phones. Through play, children can discover the various attractions of the landmark hills, experiencing plenty of fun and adventure at the same time. 


The orchard meadow

Embedded in the middle of a field arrangement in the landscape is an apple orchard in which a range of apple tree species have been planted. Play sculptures are situated among the trees like fallen apples in the grass, furnishing both children and adults with the opportunity to slide, climb, take a lie-down and rest. The sculptures are shaped so that they exert a dynamic and harmonising effect on visitors and the surroundings. When unused, their aesthetic nature comes to the fore. For children, this is their own little world full of adventure for them to discover.

The play areas constitute the main leisure sites within the park. They are such that users can employ their own imagination as to how they should be employed. In thematic terms, they are in accord with the specific nature of the location while they are arranged to interconnect with each other. A major contribution towards this effect is provided by the various, distinctive forms of terrain modelling and the projection of elements from the ground surface. 


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