'Cape Zwenkau' project: Bringing architects and principals together at an early stage

The Kap Zwenkau (Cape Zwenkau) development, 15 kilometers south of Leipzig, is striving to achieve high quality of both urban planning and architecture. The new approach of an architectural expo is one element that allows the creation of buildings with individual expression within a harmonized overall look. 51 architectural firms, mainly from the local region, are participating in the project and are currently developing plans that will be exhibited to potential principals and the general public. The aim of this approach is to create a platform that brings architects and principals together at an early stage of the project. Drees & Sommer is managing the architectural expo on behalf of the developer, Sächsisches Seebad Zwenkau GmbH & Co. KG. This is only the second time this approach has been used in Germany. Building construction will start in the summer of 2010. Site development will be completed by mid 2011.

The architectural expo resonated well with the public. A kick-off event held in Zwenkau, Saxony in June 2010 was attended by 40 architectural firms. Over the coming weeks, 51 architectural firms are working on plans for fictional building sites which must meet binding quality manual and the land-use plan specifications. During this first stage, the principals are also still fictional. Nonetheless, the designs must take the lakeside setting, the built environment, and the local topography into account. The project developer hopes this will result in high-quality architectural designs for residential buildings. Drees & Sommer will undertake comprehensive preliminary examination of competition entries and present its findings to a jury. The project and development management experts were asked to take over competition management and communication with the architects, as great importance was attached to this process.

New process ensures comprehensive consultation
Germany's first architectural expo was held for the Lake Phoenix development in Dortmund. Here, too, Drees & Sommer managed the process. Both principals and architects responded positively to the new idea. The approach is also a useful marketing and public relations instrument for the project developer.

It is expected that the process will achieve exemplary architectural solutions and result in comprehensive consultation with future principals. At the same time, the designs are intended to sensitize principals to the work of architects and to establish contact between planners and principals at an early phase of the project. On the other hand, architects have the opportunity to present their designs to potential principals, thus increasing their chances of contract award. The fact that many projects in the region are developed using an owner-builder scheme means that it is often difficult for architectural firms to establish contact with principals.

Jury judges designs
Following judging and presentation of awards by the jury at the end of August, the entries will be exhibited in Zwenkau. An exhibition catalog will be printed and an overview of designs will be published on the Internet. This provides planners with a much greater platform for their work than they would normally enjoy. At the same time, the designs on display will show the huge range of possibilities for principals.

An urban lakeside development takes shape
The new urban district is located right next to Lake Zwenkau, a 970-hecare former brown-coal open-cast mine. This is expected to be filled to capacity by the end of 2013, becoming one of the largest lakes in East Germany.

Sächsisches Seebad Zwenkau's 'Kap Zwenkau' concept forms part of the overall development of the Lake Zwenkau with mixed and special-purpose areas for living, working and leisure. It will result in a lakeside urban community south of Leipzig linking the city of Zwenkau to the newly created lake. A total of over 150 building sites will be offered.