A five-storey flagship store for Primark, City Plaza is the centre piece of a large urban redevelopment project which links Wuppertal's railway station to the town centre. City Plaza marks the rail gateway to Wuppertal's city centre, forming part of an assembly of impressive historical buildings which define the remodelled square in front of the railway station.
The five-storey solitaire building sits on a 2,000m2 plot and provides four levels of retail space for Primark, an office space at level 5 and a basement garage. There is a mix of building styles in the surrounding area, including modern, post-war developments, but many buildings are historical.
City Plaza sits on top of rock, which had to be dynamited away to allow for underground parking, service access and other facilities. The upgraded square's proportions are now more human in scale, with careful building positioning creating a more intimate feel. People now dwel land watch the world go by or wander around exploring in a space which was previously grubby and functional. It is now a positive experience to look around and appreciate the new sense of place there. Our transformation of the entire area reduced the size of the square in front of the railway station and created a much more human scale – for example by proposing the relocation of the main building to bring it into closer focus.
Chapman Taylor wanted to present Wuppertal as a vibrant blend of the old and the new – with a contemporary design for a striking centre piece building which would help to achieve that in a way which would complement the wider urban context of impressive historical buildings. The building's curved façade is clad with brass panels alternating with glass to create a striking 'curtain wall', play fully referencing fabric folds with materiality and colours which lift the entire area's look and feel. The design lifts the area's look and feel along side the major improvements to the surrounding public realm.
The wider project has transformed what was a neglected railway station district. The busy urban hub is used by tens of thousands of rail and bus passengers every day, and their experience is now much more pleasant. The railway station was previously severed from the city centre by a dual carriage way, and pedestrians had to walk through an unwelcoming underpass. That highway was lowered by 6m and a new bridge built, flanked on both sides by retail/F&B pavilions (fully let). The new bridge transforms the pedestrian experience, seamlessly linking the station with the city centre.
City Plaza has become a catalyst for further developments in Wuppertal since its conception, and is now a key reference for discussions about how to regenerate urban centres during a period of uncertainty about the future of physical retail. City Plaza is the most important redevelopment project that Wuppertal has seen in the post-war era and is already a catalyst for further development – helping Wuppertal to regain its historic self-confidence.
Chapman Taylor’s Düsseldorf studio, together with the investor, Signature Capital, won a prestigious German Polis Award for City Plaza in the "Regenerated Town Centres" category in 2016. The project has also won the 2019-20 European Property Award for "Best Retail Architecture in Germany". The project has been shortlisted for a prestigious 2019 MAPIC Award in the "Best Retail City Centre Regeneration" category.