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Grünewald · Kirchberg, Luxembourg

The fragmented orchard

Farming history as a backdrop for a domestic landscape in Luxembourg's European district


The district of Grünewald, situated within Luxembourg’s new European district in Kirchberg, has been developed on an urban plan based on a geometric grid. The district’s composition of building blocks, private gardens, and squares takes on the form of a chessboard, creating a dense but harmonious and interconnected fabric with playful contrasts between buildings and open spaces, public and private. Nestled on the edge of a plateau, Grünewald negotiate the slope and the height difference between the urban centre of the plateau and the green valley at its feet.

Kirchberg, Luxembourg
2008 - 2014
Project area
2,8 ha
Fonds d’Urbanisation et d’aménagement du plateau de Kirchberg
Photography credits
Pierre Marchevet

Grünewald stands in strong contrast with generic and uniform neighbourhoods that have emerged in many cities. One of the key challenges was to infuse the new, to be built neighbourhood, with a distinct identity and sense of unity, despite the spatial fragmentation provided by its urban plan. To achieve this, we introduced the concept of the ‘fragmented orchard,’ an identity and image woven throughout the entire network of squares and gardens.

Creator of meaningful places

Within this framework, and to strengthen the transition from urban to countryside, three types of orchards unfold: an ornamental orchard at the northern city edge, a productive orchard at the heart of the residential area, and a rustic orchard adorning the southern valley landscape. These orchards pay homage to Grünewald’s agricultural heritage, seamlessly bridging the gap between the bustling business centre to the north and the serene and natural landscape to the south.


Togetherness, local vs global

In order to tie the different areas together and to refer to the European character of the Kirchberg plateau, home of number of international institutions, a series of lines irrigate the entire neighbourhood. Pointing out to different European capitals, lines of concrete slabs animate the routes across the district and develop a distinct signature for the entire network of public spaces. Cities name and distances are engraved within the slabs while custom concrete benches with integrated lighting offer places to rest and meet. To provide orientation and individualisation, each of the individual little squares within the urban grid, receive a special element in the form of a playground or a communal garden area with berries or herbs surrounded by generous seating edges.


The blossoming of a New District

New residents and employees have made Grünewald their home, shops and restaurants have opened their doors, and the district has welcomed life with vibrant energy. Throughout the seasons, people embrace the green surroundings and become intimately acquainted with nature’s delights. From the fragrant and resplendent blossoms of spring to the joyous act of harvesting fruits during the bountiful summer, from the playful moments in the playgrounds, to leisurely strolls through the charming neighbourhood, Grünewald unfolds as a picturesque and inviting home for all. Collective garden activities have developed successfully during the last 10 years, progressively reclaiming the former ornamental areas for their own production.


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