SCHÜSSINSEL, BIEL/BIENNE, SWITZERLAND
The Schüssinsel park in Biel/Bienne opened to the public in June 2017, following 28 months of construction. The facility is around 53500 square metres in size. The park has attracted attention from experts throughout Switzerland and received multiple awards in recognition of its exemplary design. The Swiss Pedestrian Association awarded the project the “Flâneur d’Or 2017” and the architecture magazine Hochparterre awarded the Biel/Bienne authorities the “Golden Hare” in the landscape architecture category.  Designed by: Landscape Architecture Basel; Claude Pahud, Emch+Berger SA, Bienne and initiated by the Biel/Bienne City Council.
Teaser photo before the video begins by Jon Naiman, Espazium .
During the redesign of the park Schüssinsel from 2010-2017, the small river Schüss was ecologically upgraded. At the same time, the Steblerkanal was extended with a newly installed water wheel.
The riverbed of the Schüss was diversified and revitalized with stone blocks, stone groynes, rootstocks and small sills. It provides a better habitat for fish and other creatures than the previously built-up riverbed. Natural meadows, shrubs and trees also make the park an important retreat for birds, butterflies and other insects in the middle of the city.
The renaturalized Schüss only has a slight gradient. Nevertheless, its sound is clearly audible at the few points of disturbance and lends the park in the vicinity a near-natural atmosphere. Disturbance points are not only valuable from a water ecology point of view (the water absorbs oxygen), but also for the sound quality. Thus, the cars passing behind the small dam are muffled.
Comment by the project manager for hydraulic engineering at the time:
"Hydraulic engineering has been developing rapidly in recent times. Waterway structuring is no longer necessarily in conflict with flood protection. From a hydraulic engineering/ecological point of view, some things would already be done differently on the Schüss today. Today, people are more courageous in incorporating structures in revitalization projects."
Entry submitted by: Beat Hohmann.
Photo, audio, video: Beat Hohmann.