The idea of a "path through the woods" served as the inspiration for this concept level proposal for a new retail development in a rural setting near Werl, Germany, In the Middle Ages, the "Hellweg" was an ancient east-west route through Germany. Hellweg connotes a “wide ‘bright’ clearway through the forest”. We developed the exterior facing facades to evoke the feeling of the edge of a forest . Along the edge, there are “clearings” that function as plazas, which open up to the outside and provide entry to the interior, which is a different world: an exciting and contemporary retail pathway through the forest.
The exterior facades of the retail buildings are composed of a series of facade variation that evoke the edge of a forest. The buildings would be clad in recycled wood products or other cladding that provides colorful variation.
The roof edge is sometimes horizontal and sometimes provides vertical bends to add movement and relate to the pitched roofs of the nearby town’s architecture.
The pathway forms the retail street. The primary element of the pathway is a canopy that provides continuous covering along the storefronts. Architecturally, this element meanders along the walkway and creates a powerful and interesting rhythm. At the same time, it calls attention to a series of unique spatial experiences along the interior street . The paving, landscaping, and canopy would all be geometrically coordinated. At times, the white canopy creates vertical signage elements and even crosses the street to form an opportunity for branding and announcements of events, etc.
The pathway would be paved with local stones. The varied recycled wood or colored siding would be used on the buildings above the canopy.