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