The Zollhallen Plaza in Germany by Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl adopts water sensitive urban design

Zollhallen Plaza is new counterpart for the historic customs hall which was restored in 2009. The plaza is a fine example of water sensitive urban design, as it is disconnected from the sewer system.

Beautiful planters provide infiltration points, and subsurface gravel trenches with innovative in-built filter medium reduce the hydraulic overload on the sewer system. Indented plaza areas create a surface flood zone. No rain water is fed to the sewer system, instead the ground water table is recharged.

The design plays with the historic past of the site which was a rail yard. Timeless and multifunctional benches recalled break noses of rail tracks, and old rail tracks are inlaid into the paving. A bright grove of cherry trees provide the perfect amount of shade, while the infiltration planters with perennials and ornamental grasses give an attractive softness.

100% of the hardscape materials are high-quality demolition materials recycled from the old rail yard. This makes sense not just from a resource management point of view, but harmonises the new clean modern design with the historic architecture of the customs hall.

Images and diagrams via urbannext


  • Location: Freiburg, Germany
  • Client: Aurelis / City of Freiburg
  • Design: Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
  • Construction: 2011-2013
  • Area: 5600 sqm
  • Team:Dieter Grau, Rudolf Mager, Stefan Brückmann, Hendrik Porst, Angelika Büchele, Angela Soler, Christoph Hald, Vera Sieber, Gustavo Glaeser, Andreas Bockemühl
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