The water playground in Müntepark – A meeting place for all generations

Gasse I Schumacher I Schramm (Landschaftsarchitekten Partnerschaft Bremen mbB)


The water playground in Müntepark –  A meeting place for all generations

Planning process – reason and background

A framework plan was created as early as 2013 for the town planning of the central district around Müntepark in the town of Diepholz. One important objective of the proposed measures was the development and opening of the park into the district and improved access.

Besides improvement of the park entrances through re-design of the access routes the overall concept also includes a clear structure of path hierarchy through the definition of two main axes and the connection of further, secondary paths. Further topics in the framework planning are the interconnection of green areas and measures with vegetation cover and clearing to increase the usable park area from approx. 3.26 ha to approx. 4.24 ha. These measures will open up park areas to visitors that were previously impossible to access and enjoy and will create new sightlines.

The creation of new living space for the development of the district was also included in the framework planning. Given the overall concept with measures to increase the usable park area the plan includes new residential construction at Willenberg Hill in the north-western section of Müntepark, which consolidates the existing buildings.

 

A park centre with new opportunities for use:

Generation Square

The framework plan also included the presentation of an important measure in the form of the creation of a so-called ‘Generation Square’. The idea for this space and for the above measure was the result of the many participation forums and public surveys that were carried out prior to the framework plan by the town administration of Diepholz and various studies by students.

A central component in ‘Generation Square’ is the enhancement and revitalisation of Müntepark by creating a large area for games and movement and new common areas at the heart of this green space. The new park centre is divided into four partial areas with the following overarching themes: a movement parcours with play elements for climbing, the ‘peak’ as a sleigh hill, open meadows for free play and the water play topic. The partial areas flow into one another and so form ‘Generation Square’.

Proximity to the mini-golf course was chosen deliberately because the infrastructure is already present here in the form of a kiosk and restrooms. Slight modification of the paths allows the creation of a large, sunny leisure areas between the tennis court and the mini-golf course that can accommodate new play elements and open meadow areas for free play. Its location on the sleigh hill supplements completes the existing central axis of the existing infrastructure in the park, comprising mini-golf, tennis courts and swimming pool with the addition of Generation Square.

Taking into account the new residential construction on Willenberg Hill, the water playground integrates itself into the central crossroads of Müntepark as part of Generation Square. The new water and sand play area is located directly in front of the new seating and common areas to the south of the mini-golf course. In order to maintain sufficient free space between the residential construction and the play area, the transition has been designed as a wide-open meadow that is divided in the path area with additional landscaping and plants.

The central bundling of games, sport and movement-oriented leisure activities leaves the other areas of Müntepark for classical local recreation activities.

 

The water playground – from the initial idea to realisation

The water playground, completed in 2015, comprises two central elements. The watercourse itself, made of natural stone paving, and the sand play areas to the left and right of this. These elements were developed based on the existing sleigh hill and the resulting topography in the shape of a lens.

A bench area that follows the new route of the path, with one bench and two picnic table sets, framed by two shrub beds to each side, connects the water playground to the park path via a paved area and offers seating and a rest area for the parents with their children.

The 35 m-watercourse forms an important component in the water playground, allowing a natural change in water height and is supplemented by various water play elements in stainless steel. Being embedded in the existing topography means that the water flows in the form of channels and rivulets in a varied, curved bed of natural stone paving in different sizes, down the hill past boulders. Besides the boulders, there are small areas of pebbles set in concrete and colourful, round, glazed natural stone paving that add detail to the water channels in natural stone paving. Thus, the water babbles across the rounded pebbles to the lowest point like a natural stream. Two tap points that are connected to the existing drinking water pipes in the park allow the filling of the ‘stream’ with water.

The first tap point in the form of a stainless steel toy pump with a wooden platform is inspired by Diepholz Castle as a noble starting point. Another tap point is integrated into the system further down the slope. A bucket wheel makes it possible to transport water from one level to another. The rivulets of water can also be diverted and dammed with the help of two integrated dams. This allows visitors to influence the flow speed or the water levels until a rivulet overflows and the water flows down at a different point. Before the water slowly flows off it collects at the end of the channel in a small basin at the connection to the sand play area. A wooden deck also connects the watercourse to the sand play area, serving as a sand and mud area and an additional seating element.

The water play area is terraced with sandstone rocks over the entire area. These interrupt the rivulets at three points and take the water in different directions. Otherwise the rocks absorb the height differences in the site and serve to divide the water and sand play areas while also serving as a seat element. The natural character that is provided by the sandstone rocks is further accentuated by robust ground cover planting in the form of a lens in salix purpurea ‘Nana’. This interrupts the paved area in the lower section of the water playground.

The large, neighbouring sand play areas frame the water play area. Existing play apparatus such as a sand digger, a sand pit and a rocking animal was reinstalled at the transition to the watercourse and the wooden deck and a slope slide with platform was added. The topography was also adapted in order to shape the site around the play area. Gentle foothills at the edge of the sleigh hill form a rolling glass area in the form of small hills. The larger slide and seesaw elements were reinstalled on the side facing the sand play apparatus and the slope slide to complete the play area.

Overall, the water and sand playground offers many opportunities for play through the different play elements and the topography of the land, allowing visitors to experience the topic of sand and water in their own way. Water flowing at different speeds, influenced by the curved bed of natural stone paving and dams, allows them to get to know the natural characteristics of water in a playful way.

 

Outlook and conclusion

The municipality has already added further sections of Generation Square to the water playground in past years, based on the overall design to develop Müntepark. A movement and climbing parcours connects to the water playground and the areas around the sleigh hill have been cleared in order to allow new sightlines in and from the park and to further accentuate the sleigh hill.

The movement and redesign of the park entrance at Willenberg Hill and the clearing measures realised a further component in the overall design. The redesign of the entrance area and the adaptation of the path behind the water playground allowed increased opening of Müntepark into the district. In addition to the central Generation Square there are four pieces of fitness equipment for young and old linked to the new paths. The new sightline into the park from Willenberg Hill allows a view of the new slide play tower, which is located between the sleigh hill, and the open meadow area on Generation Square.

In conclusion, we can say that Müntepark in Diepholz has become a popular meeting place with new recreational qualities through the successive realisation of the measures. The water playground is a pleasing place for children to cool down, particularly in the summer months.

 

Photo: Jan Meier, A. Hehmann und Gasse I Schumacher I Schramm

 

Further information:
Gasse I Schumacher I Schramm
Landschaftsarchitekten Partnerschaft Bremen mbB
Theodor-Heuss-Allee 21 I  D-28215 Bremen
Tel. 0049 (0) 421 - 3 46 64 59 | www.gasse-schumacher-schramm.de

 

Stadt Diepholz
Abteilung Tiefbau und Grünflächen
Contact person: Andreas Hehmann
Tel. 05441 – 909316 | www.stadt-diepholz.de

 

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