Architect: Mai Hung Trung / atelier M32

Landscape architect: BASE

Local partner: MBA/S + Jan Knippers

Environmental Engineer: Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH

Transport Planner: Michain

Model artist: Vincent derijk



The Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA) Stuttgart 2027 // RUNNER UP

Backnang West is more than a former industrial area on the river. Backnang West is a flood plain formed by the Murr and extends from slope edge to slope edge. A geographical unit with its logic, its processes, and its adaptability. Our suggestion is to trust this existing geography and take it seriously as a holistic park. That means thinking of the city quarter in terms of its landscape and its topography. More than a finished master planning, we present an impermanent system and intervention strategy for a resilient and changeable living space. A development process in four acts and three fundamental rules of the game:

1 Murr Park network

Give space to the water of the Murr and shape living spaces with it. Extreme events like floods are not new, however, will become more frequent and stronger in the future. With the soft measure, It seems more resilient to return back to the river a large part of its former valley bed and to define it as a floodable and versatile city park. The Park system extends to the unsealed and green terraces, promenades, and traverses in the more densely populated part and the productive landscape. It ends on both sides at the Belvederes on the slope edge, above the ecologically valuable existing forest, with a view of a diverse and adaptable inhabited park landscape.

2 River terraces outline

Architecture from geography. The holistically Park does not end at the landscape configuration, but influences and shapes the architecture. The existing topographical order is a system of terraces formed by river deposits. The wet terraces at the floodable zone and the dry terraces above it. These geographical conditions provide the basic rules for a new construction method that reacts to its surroundings and evolves with its landscape.

3 MURR system! (Reactivate human environment resources!)

Working with what is there. That means intelligent networking between the actors and the resources in order to drastically reduce emissions. A system that recycles locally, exchanges regionally, and thinks ahead internationally. Existing buildings and their uses are taken seriously, what is not left standing is reused or converted. With the polycentric urban region, resources such as water, wood, earth, living space, jobs, and also cultural diversity are exchanged and promoted. Technical know-how, research, and tourist attractiveness are linked as an intangible resource internationally with the IBA construction laboratory.

4 Entdeckt

means making visible, means participating, and means learning. In the first act, access to the city quarter is created. Like a new meander run, the blue line on the floor runs through an unknown but rich history of Backnang-West, challenges the existing order, and creates new connections. Polarities of exchange and mediation arise along the new ray, which enters into a dynamic game with the Murr. A simple footpath along the entire embankment provides access to the water. Partly full of energy and active, as with the new JUZE passerelle, partly quiet and close to nature.

A new habitat on the Murr has developed which, like its original geomorphology of the floodplain, has made adaptability its own.

Hydrological concept

Working with the risk. Accept floods in a controlled manner. Let rainwater seep away and direct heavy rain into water gardens. Saving water and using it for toilets and gardens. Make the poetry of water, its changing volume visible.


Soft and sharing mobility as a model for better use of resources. Create incentives for changing mobility, parking costs finance train subscriptions. No new infrastructure for cars, existing asphalt is left in precise places to enable access. A networked infrastructure for non-motorized traffic - bicycle parking spaces, mobility centers, cycle paths, and pedestrian shortcuts. City of short distances.

City as an ongoing building workshop

The entrance to Backnang West is marked by a future-oriented building yard that can be experienced every day. An educational building campus connects the historic and the new Backnang. The existing buildings will be preserved, strategically renovated, and adapted to the mixed programs as required. The process of gutting the old structure will be part of shaping the future. Existing materials and architectural elements are preserved for future reuse, as a radical replacement of the material differs significantly from the archaic idea of ​​sustainability. The instability is actually the most stable and resilient state, which is characterized by a constant flow of material throughout. The "perforation" in the heart of Fabrikstrasse 76 will represent a symbolic and visual connection with its surroundings, guided by the open view of the Murr. The enclosed building is opened visually and programmatically and integrated into the landscape.

Impermanence, flexibility, and adaptability, defined by mastering the functions on-demand in the time dimension, are the main parameters of the concept. The resilience of the architectural typology is reflected in its ability to react to the ecological, social, and global crisis not only by tailoring, adapting, and including it. But the implementation of the architecture will be a reaction to the environment. The architecture will no longer be a static object state, but a series of living, physical transformations that take place over time. An unfinished wooden framework with modular and dynamic units will create a changeable form of constant building. The void will play just as important a role as wholeness. There will be no fixed ideal configuration. Instead of a defined form, the city will be conceived through a process of making and not-making. This metabolism gives the city the image of a constantly evolving construction site², a scaffold-like city in which the urban voids maintain permeability and possibly absorb the urban expansion. Construction sites are designed to be able to anticipate the unpredictable changes of programs.

In response to the post-Covid era, the enclosed inner connections are being replaced by the outer ones, which give individuals access to every apartment via an XL balcony. The flexible internal partitions allow various configurations depending on temporary needs and future expansions. The spatial configuration could potentially accommodate different family types from a young couple to multigenerational families. The flexibility of the physical configuration enables adaptation to changing uses and also to mutate between living and working. The proposal defines a system based on the strategic model of the circular economy.

Energy concept

Emission-free development in a local historical context with geological identity under the stipulation of the reuse of building structures with extensions and new buildings in wood. District heating and cooling system with connection to a geothermal well system from river water soil infiltration, which enables a permanent source temperature of 12 - 15 ° C, well suited for heat pump heating and free cooling. Local conversion of renewable energies into hydrogen with local energy storage of 600 m³ and a gas network connection. Excess heat from the electrolysis is fed into the heating network. Combined heat and power plant based on hydrogen or solar gas (reformed CH4 from hydrogen) to cover the electricity load when renewable energies are low and excess heat is fed into the heating network

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