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Industrial Evolution

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A Norman Foster master plan has transformed a decaying German industrial port into a vibrant neighborhood. It’s not about a single dramatic image, but what Foster calls “incremental change” using plenty of “urban glue.”

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  "We addressed the need to reconnect the inner city with the water's edge," says Foster. Accordingly, the Steiger Schwanentor jetty was the first project completed. The pontoon-and-ram system provides mooring facilities for sightseeing boats.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    "We addressed the need to reconnect the inner city with the water's edge," says Foster. Accordingly, the Steiger Schwanentor jetty was the first project completed. The pontoon-and-ram system provides mooring facilities for sightseeing boats. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  The NF1 apartment building where Carsten Cox lives has an inner garden, in which fanciful Park Guell–inspired structures utilize the rubble of the buildings demolished to make way for it.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    The NF1 apartment building where Carsten Cox lives has an inner garden, in which fanciful Park Guell–inspired structures utilize the rubble of the buildings demolished to make way for it. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  The Garden of Memories.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    The Garden of Memories. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  Cox enjoys the view from his penthouse terrace. The steel used for the terrace, and the brick-colored cladding of the building, echo the industrial architecture of the area. The angles suggest a ship, a nautical link with Duisburg’s past as a major port.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    Cox enjoys the view from his penthouse terrace. The steel used for the terrace, and the brick-colored cladding of the building, echo the industrial architecture of the area. The angles suggest a ship, a nautical link with Duisburg’s past as a major port. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  The neighbors' balconies provide an interesting perspective.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    The neighbors' balconies provide an interesting perspective. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  Wall-to-ceiling glass panels on the two exterior walls maximize the views and flood the apartment with light. The interior wall panels can be entirely removed to create a single loft space.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    Wall-to-ceiling glass panels on the two exterior walls maximize the views and flood the apartment with light. The interior wall panels can be entirely removed to create a single loft space. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  The overhanging roof of Cox’s terrace adds to the visually intriguing play of angles, and provides a spot of shade—or even shelter from the rain). It also helps to reduce glare in the interior.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    The overhanging roof of Cox’s terrace adds to the visually intriguing play of angles, and provides a spot of shade—or even shelter from the rain). It also helps to reduce glare in the interior. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  Features like the elegant Movable Bridge invite pedestrians to linger on the waterfront.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    Features like the elegant Movable Bridge invite pedestrians to linger on the waterfront. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  One of three new canals that were cut to carry the water into the heart of the city.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    One of three new canals that were cut to carry the water into the heart of the city. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  Artist Dani Karavan’s Garden of Remembrance uses the form of waves, and the debris of demolished buildings, to evoke Duisburg’s harbor history. “We avoided breaking with the past, and instead chose to create an environment that would resonate strongly with it,” says Foster.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    Artist Dani Karavan’s Garden of Remembrance uses the form of waves, and the debris of demolished buildings, to evoke Duisburg’s harbor history. “We avoided breaking with the past, and instead chose to create an environment that would resonate strongly with it,” says Foster. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  Artist Dani Karavan’s Garden of Remembrance uses the form of waves, and the debris of demolished buildings, to evoke Duisburg’s harbor history. “We avoided breaking with the past, and instead chose to create an environment that would resonate strongly with it,” says Foster.  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    Artist Dani Karavan’s Garden of Remembrance uses the form of waves, and the debris of demolished buildings, to evoke Duisburg’s harbor history. “We avoided breaking with the past, and instead chose to create an environment that would resonate strongly with it,” says Foster. Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
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  Foster and Partners’ master plan facilitated important works by others, including Zvi Hecker (the Jewish Community Center), and Herzog + de Meuron (the Küppersmühle Museum).  Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.
    Foster and Partners’ master plan facilitated important works by others, including Zvi Hecker (the Jewish Community Center), and Herzog + de Meuron (the Küppersmühle Museum). Photo by Hertha Hurnaus.

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