In 2011, Koblenz was chosen as the site for the Bundesgartenschau, a biennial horticultural show that drew 3.6 million visitors. Various structures were erected for the occasion, including a belvedere designed by Dethier Architectures. In addition to providing a lookout point, the belvedere has become a symbol of the city.
The Bundesgartenschau is a large-scale event, and the city of Koblenz needed an infrastructure capable of meeting the challenge.
The belvedere is in the shape of a hollow triangle positioned on the plateau overlooking Koblenz. A walkway, accessible to visitors with limited mobility, leads from a gallery – a potential exhibition space – to the roof, along a pathway offering, by turns, views of the park, the city and the belvedere itself. The cantilever symbolises the project: it extends more than 15 metres out over the valley, and rises 10 metres above the ground. The choice of materials (native wood species for the structure and walkway, and Cor-Ten steel for the structural elements), meant that the entire construction could be pre-fabricated. The marriage of architectural research, and engineering to ensure stability, have resulted in a lightweight structure with dynamic visitor circulation. The lateral trusses create a mosaic of the surrounding countryside and allow the structure to be relatively free-standing.
With its formal, high-tech design, the belvedere offers a vision of modernity. The integration of a maximum number of contextual characteristics reflects a willingness to foreground the perception of nature. A correct solution needed to be found so that, in a completely unostentatious manner, the structure could stand as a symbol of Koblenz. Moreover, it was essential to enable each visitor to have a meaningful, subtle encounter with the surroundings.