Bären- and Waisenhausplatz

City of Bern

2019

Product Design of public benches for Bärenplatz and Waisenhausplatz squares in Bern.

Daniel Hunziker | Head of Design
Petra Heger (Tiefbauamt Bern) | Project management
Thomas Mäusli (Stadtgrün Bern) | Consulting and management implementation
Roland Bieri (Hügli Ingenieurunternehmung AG) | Consulting and implementation of terrorist protection

Photography:

Alena Fabia Schwarz

 

In 2017, the famous Danish urban architect Jan Gehl developed a design concept «A City for All» for the old town of the city of Bern. DHDI was commissioned to conceive and design the seating for the Bärenplatz and Waisenhausplatz and to oversee the implementation. The seats were based on the design of the «Neue Berner Bank» (designed by DHDI in 2018) and adapted to the needs of the two places and their user groups respectively.

The city of Bern has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Therefore the city’s monument preservation department was also involved in the design process. All the benches were designed to match the facades of the surrounding buildings. Also involved were the Directorate of Civil Engineering, Transport and Green Spaces, the Directorate of Security, the Environment and Energy as well as Hügli Ingenieurunternehmung AG. The latter we consulted for the development of a 15-metre-long bench fortified by massive internal steel construction, preventing direct vehicle access to Bärenplatz. Previously, mobile concrete bollards took over this protective function.

The seating can be assembled in the in-house workshop of Bern’s Building Authority. The seats and backrests in both the Bärenhausplatz and Waisenhausplatz are made of solid oak, which is comfortable in cold and warm conditions. The benches are also all designed to be accessible. Inclusion is a matter of course for us.