Hello everyone we are now in Essen, Germany!! We arrived here on June 18 by train and were able to settle into our new hostel when we arrived. The place looked super awesome and nice and even has a sauna! All 15 of the students are sharing an apartment together. However in Berlin we were able to have our own apartments. Here in Essen I suspected that it would be hard to cook and share the small mini-fridge between 15 people but it really is not that bad. I think being in a different environment has really allowed me to be free with everything that is happening. Anyways… we started our trip in Essen with a welcome dinner at a Greek restaurant called Hugoloss. We had an easy and just welcomed our professor Frank for the second half of this trip.
Our first trip out in Essen was a visit to Pheonix See. This was very exciting for me because I am currently researching this site. I have been here previously during spring break for a studio class and had some brief background knowledge of this site already. This is a man made lake that was created from a steel factory site. This steel factory in Dortmund was sold and moved to China. Phoenix See is very interesting because while boats are allowed to go in this lake, people are not allowed to swim. This is because this site was created for ecological purposes. Water filtration and contaminant mitigation is crucial in Germany. This water is filtered through reed plants like phragmites and water irises. This lake actually also has had a TV series made that talks about the gentrification of this area. Dortmund is not a wealthy town, but the area around Phoenix See makes it seem like people are wealthy here. Although new modern houses have been built directly at the waterfront, no existing homes were exterminated and people were never forced to move out. This area is definitely a tourist site because of all the restaurants around the lake. We were able to walk around this giant lake and climb up the large man-made hill and see a great view of the area.
The next day we went to a community development that was design-focused on stormwater control. This is a low-income community that was designed inwardly. Looking at the plan view of this space you can see that everything really is not connected to the outer areas surrounding this development. It was a very interesting design that serves its ultimate purpose. Pipes and gutters collected stormwater runoff from every building and fed it into the drains. The grading was created so that street runoff would fall into the detention basin created in the center of these houses. Children were riding their bikes and playing in the basin and using it for recreational purposes.