The Wehrhahn Line is the largest recent urban development project in Dusseldorf, reaching its successful conclusion after 15 years of construction and planning.
The Wehrhahn Line is the largest and most sophisticated recent urban development project in Dusseldorf, reaching its successful conclusion after 15 years of construction and planning. One highlight of the route is the design of the new U-Bahn tunnel and the six U-Bahn stations. Architecture and art strikingly come together, characterizing impressions of the spaces. The artists also contributed to the remarkable decisions as equal partners from the beginning of planning and have not permitted any advertising spaces in the new stations.
The project was implemented by the office of netzwerkarchitekten from Darmstadt together with artist Heike Klussmann, who together in 2001 won the EU-wide architecture competition for all six stations against major international competition. Together they developed the overall concept of a U-Bahn tunnel as an “underground continuum,” similar to a giant snake as it slips through the earth, widening at the respective stations before continuing on its path. In contrast to the colored spaces of public space, it features a light relief-like grid structure.
The structure of Continuum systematically shrinks or expands resulting in a dynamic spatial effect. The stations are connected via openings to the urban space, each maintaining its own identity while acting as a connection to the city above.
During the second competition in 2002, artists Ralf Brög, Ursula Damm, Manuel Franke, Enne Haehnle and Thomas Stricker were selected. Together with the architects each developed a specific design for the access areas of a specific station. Additionally, Heike Klussmann undertook the design of Pempelforter Straße.
The Wehrhahn Line project exemplifies the dimension and complexity of modern urban development and transportation planning. A pioneering transportation infrastructure ensures better, faster and equal mobility for all transportation users. Today, the paradigm of a “car-friendly city” out of a reconstruction period along with the structural transformation of cities is increasingly discarded in favor of a “room for all” view.
Additionally, by moving the urban railway underground, new spaces and design options on the surface have emerged, leaving a lasting and beautified cityscape for Dusseldorf in more than just the “Kö-Bogen.”
Program: underground line
Planning engineers: Wehrhahn Line engineering consortium
Costs: € 843.6 M
Route length: 3.4 km double-track tunnel