Relinquishing the Old Centre

Staßfurt lost its historic city centre to salt mining. A seven-metre-deep area of mining subsidence, 200 hectares in size, runs through the old town. As part of IBAIBA Internationale Bauausstellung Stadtumbau 2010, a new lake was created in place of the subsided centre.

Uncontrolled water penetrations into the pits of the potassium mine had caused the site in Staßfurt’s old town to subside up to seven metres over several decades. Roughly 800 historic buildings had to be demolished, the town hall, church and residential buildings were irretrievably lost. The loss was suppressed for a long time, both in terms of urban development and culture, as it told a story of decline.

After the end of mining and large parts of the chemical industry, Staßfurt had become an empty city. The citizens wanted their historic centre back. However, redeveloping the area, still latently at risk of subsidence, would have been extremely difficult and did not make much sense due to the decrease in population.

In 2005, a public workshop was held over several days in an open shop front. The architects, urban and landscape planners involved presented their considerations and results to interested citizens for discussion in the evening. Thus, a decision was made together with the citizens to flood the subsidence area and transform it into a landscape zone. Today, Staßfurt’s centre is a popular park with an urban lake. This also upgraded the surrounding urban areas, while old buildings were refurbished, and the former department store was turned into a residential and office building.

Staßfurt’s relinquished centre does not present itself as an idyllic place, but as a clearly designed open urban space that reflects the history of the location.

Further IBAIBA Internationale Bauausstellung