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From Airport to Birdport


In collaboration with De Zwarte Hond Köln, Felixx has developed a landscape strategy for the public space of the former Essen-Mülheim airport. The design is an answer to the growing demand for more integration of nature in our cities. Combining spatial quality of the working environment with nature, ecology and climate adaptation, Birdport is an innovative business park for the future, in which high-tech and nature come together within a high-quality public space.

Located between nature reserves Rumbachtal, Forstbachtal and Rossenbecktal, Birdport forms a new link in existing landscape structures. The design emphasizes Nature-based Solutions, creating a resilient environment where commercial use and nature go hand in hand.


The public space is an important part of the greening strategy of the area and is characterized by different habitats and associated vegetation types: moist areas for extra buffer capacity, higher areas on rooftops, dense tree areas, flowering species and flower meadows.

Measures to collect, delay and reuse rainwater are essential elements of the landscape concept, since infiltration of water through the polluted soil is made impossible. Each building offers optimal conditions for ecological diversity, such as intensive and extensive green roofs. Creating extra living space for birds, bats and insects and at the same time serve as a water buffer.


The character of the area, or the Genius Loci, is further developed by retaining characteristic infrastructure such as the landing strip, the strong visual axes and the object-like buildings. The former runway is used again in the design, as a Discovery Loop. A walking route on the old runway, only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. The edges of the disused runway are planted with native grass species that purify the contaminated soil using phytoremediation. A nature-oriented solution that uses micro-organisms present in the plant that collect, convert and degrade sediments in the contaminated soil.


The business park focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups for knowledge and technology-oriented companies and innovative research and development cooperation with universities. Birdport consists of three spatial areas, each with its own focus, allowing it to appeal to a wide range of businesses. The 'flexible backbone' is a spacious park that connects existing biotopes with the new district, a 'high-dense campus' that is characterized by a high density and that facilitates the needs of future companies. Finally, 'Iconic buildings with a view' form an experimental playing field. A grid of regularly placed trees and blocks, interrupted by organically designed paths and public places, forms an unexpected pattern of different scales. This mix of different building typologies and flexible use of public space also creates a lively neighborhood outside traditional working hours.

The three sub-areas are connected by four traffic arteries: two loops and two spacious boulevards. One of these loops forms the main access road for car traffic, to which various mobility hubs are connected, such as parking facilities and shared cars and bicycles. Like the Discovery Loop, the two spacious boulevards are only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists and provide a safe and attractive connection to the neighbourhood.

The unique location, design and positioning of Birdport make this business park on the former airport stand out from many other developments in the Ruhr metropolitan area.




Essen-Mülheim Airport


Masterplan, Infrastructure, Landscape

Team & partners

Michiel van Driessche
Deborah Lambert
Marnix Vink
Nancy Smolka
Natalia Andreeva
De Zwarte Hond

  1. Regulateur Gruno district
  2. Eemsdelta Campus
  3. Jonas Amsterdam
  5. Rijnvliet, Edible Neighborhood
  6. Railroad Zone Amsterdam
  9. Alongside the Schie
  10. New Space - Design Guideline Liveability of Public Space, Groningen
  11. From Airport to Birdport
  12. Brainport Industries Campus
  13. Hondsrug Park Amsterdam
  14. Yangmeikeng Sea Boulevard
  15. Healthy Tracks
  16. Towards a healthy city by foot
  17. Floating Gardens, Amsterdam
  18. The Unbound Amsterdam
  19. Seaside Gardens, Gufunes
  20. Brainport Smart District Helmond
  21. The Swan, Zwolle (NL)
  22. Spatial Framework Blankenburg Süden, Berlin
  23. 'Typhoon-proof' Shenzhen's East Coast
  24. Circular City Bodø 2.0
  25. A green entrance for the airport
  26. Public Space Alpen
  27. Cartesius Quarter
  28. Isle of Dikes
  29. Smakkelaarsveld Utrecht
  30. Darmstadt Masterplan 2030+
  31. Bao’An G107 Corridor
  32. Master Plan Ter Aar, Nieuwkoop
  33. Waterfront Novosibirsk
  34. City Square Tyumen
  35. Almazov National Medical Research Centre
  36. Strategic Urban Green Study
  37. Public Space Strategy Kanpur
  38. Quartierlandschaft Dietenbach
  39. ImageWharf
  40. Ódinstorg Square
  41. Overloon War Museum
  42. Lokhalle Leverkusen
  43. Ludlstrasse Munich
  44. Yaanila Country Park
  45. Redevelopment Strategy Vogabyggð
  46. Villa Garden
  47. City life in the woods
  48. Schie Quarter Schiedam
  49. Socio-technical city of the future
  50. Buji River
  51. Vaskhnil Novosibirsk
  52. Precincts Canterbury Cathedral
  53. Maritime Campus Almere
  54. Resilient Riverscape Berat
  55. Sijthoff
  56. Strategic Plan Shkodra
  57. Ekaterinburg City Campus
  58. Transformation Strategy Gufunes
  59. Transformation Strategy Chelyabinsk
  60. Fish Market Leuven
  61. Zinder Culture Cluster
  62. Food Innovation Strip Ede-Wageningen
  63. S4 Highway Hangzhou
  64. Strategic Plan Fier
  65. Strategic Plan Elbasan
  66. Kronenburg Business Park
  67. Dharavi Mumbai
  68. Masterplan Smáralind Mall
  69. Urban Test Farm Emmen
  70. Ásbrú Enterprise Park
  71. Asylum Seekers Center Ter Apel
  72. Berlin Am Volkspark
  73. The Museum of the 20th Century
  74. Gardabaer
  75. Metropolitan Westerpark Amsterdam
  76. Science and Technology City Chongqing
  77. Yue Xiu 353 Transformation
  78. 5YN3RGY
  79. Erlongshan Recreational Park
  80. Danxia Recreational Park
  81. Campus Lelystad
  82. Proto Tamansari
  83. City Gardens Tyumen
  84. Park Somerlust Amsterdam
  85. Agricultural Innovation Campus
  86. Bandar Lampung Park
  87. R&D Campus Fengxian
  88. S-West Eindhoven
  89. Biodiversity based dairy farming
  90. Heidelberg Creative Quarter
  91. Barendrecht Vrouwenpolder
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