We're excited to share our concept for Wolfsburg Connect, a 13.6 hectare masterplan in Wolfsburg’s Nordkopf district. The scheme establishes a prototype for livable small-scale urbanism, an increasingly crucial typology as the world’s population continues to urbanize. For Volkswagen, whose agenda-setting mobility technology research will be conducted in Wolfsburg, luring top talent to the area means not just offering the best workplace, but the most attractive place to live. It means creating the framework for a city as diverse as the talents and minds it hopes to attract.
“We are designing an inclusive city on human terms – an approach that means putting emphasis on social life and accessibility,” explains Louis Becker, Henning Larsen Design Principal. “Together with Volkswagen, there is the opportunity to create a city that is the testing ground for the most cutting edge mobility technology in the world – but what underpins the design is the goal to create a place that people want to be in and stay in.”
The range of mobility options results in a layered city fabric, tied more to the scale of the person than the scale of the car. Included within its bounds are Wolfsburg Hauptbanhof and an existing bus station, both of which are to be expanded in the new plan. This mobility hub, known as the Campo, presents visitors with numerous mobility options: bus, taxi, city bicycles, and walking paths all fan out from this hub.
"More than ever before, skilled workers pay attention to an attractive living environment,” says Volkswagen Human Resources Director and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Wolfsburg AG, Gunnar Kilian. “Wolfsburg already has a lot to offer, but in competing for the best minds with other major cities, it’s important we stand out.”
Ground level retail, tech, and creative workshops woven together with greenery and outdoor amenities create an active public realm throughout the day. Courtyards between blocks will be open public thoroughfares, creating an inside-out urban experience that rewards pedestrians and cyclists.
A few levels up, offices and residential program spread throughout the district and are crowned by roof gardens, decks, restaurants, and bars. The office spaces use mass timber construction to deliver a state of the art workplace environment with a light carbon footprint. The diverse mix of program (which includes office, residential, hotel, retail, and leisure spaces) creates a city that is alive throughout the day— even after commuters have left the cafes and innovation hubs for the day, locals fill the district’s public plazas and restaurants.
Henning Larsen was selected to design the project in a competition in 2019 that included competitors UNStudio and Bjarke Ingels Group. Wolfsburg Connect is designed in collaboration with client partners SIGNA, Stadt Wolfsburg, Volkswagen AG, and Wolfsburg AG and with creative consultants Gehl Urban Design, Arup and Wordsearch. Phase 1 of the masterplan is expected to reach completion by 2023.