Press release

24 international offices design plans for IBA’27 Project ›Quartier Backnang-West‹ (Backnang West Neighbourhood)

Selection procedure for urban planning competition complete – applications from more than 100 offices around the globe – competition starts in July 2020

The group of participants for the urban planning competition for the Backnang West Neighbourhood has been finalised. In an anonymous selection procedure, a jury selected 18 promising offices from a total of 103 applications submitted by the deadline. Six other offices had already been selected as set participants in advance. This means that a total of 24 offices will now be invited to develop designs for a liveable and futureproof new urban neighbourhood on the formal industrial site on the edge of Backnang’s Old Town. The proposal by Backnang town council has been part of the network for the International Building Exhibition 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart (IBA’27) since 2019.

»The pool of participants for the Backnang West urban planning competition is now extremely varied and international«, says Stefan Setzer at Backnang’s Planning Department. Offices from countries including the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Columbia, Poland, Canada, the US and Switzerland have now been asked to develop ideas and plans for the site, which is almost 17 hectares in size. German offices, for example based in Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Berlin and Munich, are also represented. These range from established planning firms with several hundred employees to small start-ups. »The preselection in advance of the competition proved useful«, explains Setzer. »With the bundled expertise and creativity of the offices now invited to take part, I am certain that we will get a courageous, futureproof design that will be very suitable for Backnang.«

Backnang municipal authorities and IBA’27 broke new ground by use qualifying ideas to select the participants in the urban planning competition. Urban planners and architects from all over the world were invited to submit their initial ideas concerning the future of Backnang West. The entries were in a vast range of formats, with drawings, first drafts, comics and stories of how the new quarter could look in the year 2050. Ten jurors, including three from Backnang council, three external experts and four IBA’27 representatives, used the outlines to assess the applicant’s creativity and expertise in approaching the task at hand and the planning area.

»Backnang showed the courage to try out a new path«, says IBA’27 Director Andreas Hofer. “The procedure of calling for anonymous outlines ensures that participants are selected based solely on their idea, their skills and their approach to the specific location. This creates a level playing field and a platform for start-ups.” The huge international response also shows that the IBA is already on people’s radar outside of Germany, Hofer explains. »We succeeded in attracting up-and-coming offices from all over the globe to take part in the planning task facing Backnang. This impetus from young and international players can enrich urban planning and architecture in the Stuttgart Region and make it more futureproof. If we embrace this journey together with our many partners, the IBA could gain huge traction by 2027 reminiscent of the tradition of the Weissenhof Estate.« The actual urban planning competition for Backnang West starts in mid-July 2020, with the final decision scheduled for January 2021. The competition in the autumn of 2019 followed what was the most comprehensive consultation process in Backnang’s recent history, with several workshops for members of the public and for experts and including the site owners. The results of the consultation process are part of the brief that will be decided on by Backnang council on 9 July 2020. The organiser is Backnang municipal authorities in cooperation with IBA’27.

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