In the 1970s, Behnisch und Partner redesigned Königstrasse in Stuttgart to turn it into a pedestrian zone. Since then, this street, together with the adjoining Schlossplatz, has been the principal public space at the heart of the city. After 30 years of intensive use, a complete refurbishment and modernization became necessary. This work was carried out by Behnisch Architekten between 2004 and 2011 in a number of stages.
Over its full length of approximately 1,200 metres Königstrasse was paved uniformly with 50 x 50 cm slabs of Flossenbürg granite laid in a regular square pattern. The central strip beneath the plane trees is accentuated by irregular bands of Muschelkalk limestone that are contrasted in texture and coloration with the paler granite. The intersections with side roads are marked by circular or square patterns that radiate out as part of the overall material concept.
By using high-quality materials and furnishings but reducing their number to a minimum, it was possible to restore the generous, refined character of Königstrasse that had gradually been eroded as a result of three decades of repairs, accumulating objects and a progressive cheapening of the environment. Now, after the completion of the refurbishment, the elegant overall impression is distinguished by many individual details with qualitative craft solutions. The guideline for blind people was cut in-situ into the surface, and the surrounds to drains were worked by stonemasons.
Past experience led to a new approach to the make-up of the paving layers. In the long run, the bonded form of construction favoured in the 1970s was unable to withstand the intense loading caused by delivery vehicles and public events. More and more slabs had become separated from their mortar bed and were loose or broken. Today, after the refurbishment, the 14-centimetre-thick granite pavings are laid loose in a bed of chippings. Beneath this, a bearing layer with asphalt provides the requisite stability and facilitates the drainage of the supporting construction.
The last development phase at the southern end of Königstrasse included the transformation of the cross-route into a pedestrian zone to better integrate the adjoining urban area into the inner city. The lateral road itself should thereby become an attractive address for upmarket retail trade.