South Gettysburg Avenue (south side access)
69124 Heidelberg | Kirchheim

Urban Design

(and mentoring) KCAP, Zürich

Project Partner

City of Heidelberg

Contact Person

Carla Jung-König


Patrick Henry Village was a US Army housing estate to the southwest of Heidelberg, set off from the city by fields and the interstate. Across an area of over 100 hectares, meaning on a par with Heidelberg’s Old Town, a future-oriented district of town is arising. Patrick Henry Village – or PHV for short – will boast a mixture of housing and workplaces with high-quality open spaces, where people of different backgrounds and income levels will live together. The 10,000 inhabitants and 5,000 people who work here will be eco-mobile, while the houses will be built with eco-friendly construction materials and outfitted with pioneering energy technology. Digitization will support PHV’s sustainable organization, and the project will stand as an example of how digitization can contribute to realizing all this. That said, the new district will not be an island for experimentation set off from the rest of the city. Even if it does not abut directly onto any other district, PHV will be closely linked to Heidelberg, the region, and the surrounding countryside.

To come good on these high standards, IBA Heidelberg devised a special process with support from the city. Four internationally renowned practices developed ideas for the district in the form of different scenarios: knowledge and business, networking and digitization, learning spaces and housing, and material cycles and open spaces. On the basis of these scenarios, an agile team composed of members of the city’s administration together with IBA and KCAP Architects & Planners engaged specialist planners who, in close cooperation with each other and with KCAP and the city, tackled the topics of urban planning typologies and architecture, open spaces and energy, mobility, mixed usages, and the digital city. The results of this process, which in an interim phase was opened out to include Heidelberg citizens, were then brought together in a »Dynamic Master Plan« that combined fixed elements and sections that are open-ended. The resulting framework ensures the master plan is open for innovations and can respond flexibly to changing needs.

The indispensable elements include the number of inhabitants, the ambitious energy and water management concept envisaged, the number of jobs targeted, and the urban structure, which takes its cue from the original buildings. This ensures that all inhabitants can easily access the district’s resources, such as mobility offerings, green zones, or social spaces. As many trees as possible and parts of the existing buildings will be retained.

Urban development and architecture
Diverse district
Productive urban landscape
Digital CIty

PHV’s design hinges on a basic structure that combines dense urban areas with spacious green zones. On the north/south longitudinal axis, ribbons run through PHV emphasizing different usage focuses: »Living and Learning«, »Living and Experimenting«, and »Developing and Producing«. Green spaces running at right angles to these axes create characteristic quarters in which usages, house types and ownership models are combined in different ways. Special attention is paid here to the ground floors, as they strongly define whether or not a vibrant urban district arises. The openness derives from the way the zones are actually built up. This will first be decided in each individual process, whereby within the existing guidelines there is latitude for different types of buildings and in some parts also different usages.

The gradual development means that the overall fabric can constantly be recalibrated. A crucial factor is that different actors and instruments can thus be combined such that social aspects and ecological sustainability never take a backseat to economic interests. In this way, long-term use and build qualities can be achieved that ensure a balance is struck between buildings and open spaces, experimentation, and preservation, between uses, functions, and interests.

After the open space planning and the urban structure of the southern existing quarter (B3/4) was finalized, the next decision to be made was on the central parkway: the access ring from which the district is then derived. Because developing PHV will take a few more years, a local authority development and management company will ensure that the district that evolves is exemplary.

PHV will be a field of experimentation in 21st-century urban development, whereby new paths will be trodden to arrive at the district’s structure. On the basis of an experimental process of scenarios and civic participation, the Dynamic Master Plan defines stipulations destined to ensure the quality of the district and keep criteria open for future developments that cannot be planned or foreseen now. Social, ecological, economic, and functional aspects will thus be calibrated such as to make certain that none of the four outweighs the others.


May 2016

Planning Phase Zero starts, 1st Civic Forum (KCAP)

June 2016

Design Thinking Workshops

September 2016

2nd Civic Forum (MVRDV and Carlo Ratti Associati)

December 2016

3rd Civic Forum (ASTOC and Ramboll Liveable Cities Lab)

March 2017

4th Civic Forum (all)

October 2017

Nominated as an IBA project

December 2017

Local council approves the PHVision

September 2018

PHV project group launches (City of Heidelberg with IBA)

April 2019

Workshops and colloquiums start defining in-depth studies

December 2019

Civic involvement through

June 2020

Local council approves the Dynamic Master Plan

July 2021

Competition for B3/4 decided (Federal Agency for Property Tasks)

Competition for Ringstrasse and tender process for A5