Strasbourg - Kehl, Cour des Douanes - Zollhofareal

Strasbourg / Kehl, France / Germany


The “Cour des Douanes” in Strasbourg and the “Zollhofareal” in Kehl are former customs posts located on the historic French and German border crossing, along the Rhine River. Europe has opened up, customs post have shrunk, a once backyard territory is now open for future developments. It becomes possible to define the terms of a new relation between the two cities, to imagine a European transborder metropolis along the Rhine.


The project of LIN is at the same time a vision to reunite the two cities/countries around the river and a framework for the urbanization of the site. The project takes on the site’s existing qualities and proposes a new geographical coherence: new developments help reconnecting the dislocated urban fragments already present on the site; at the same time the project is a step towards the construction of a new fluvial landscape expanding until the industrial harbors of Strasbourg and Kehl.

Am Rhein

The urban structure unfolds out of and towards the Rhine, enhancing its physical and symbolic presence. At the same time it absorbs the infrastructural lines of the site in a new urban landscape. The Rhine that once separated the two cities becomes an integrating reality. The project is not thought of as a rigid masterplan. It is more of a matrix open to multiple functions and uses, adapting to the specificities of each found situation.

Neighborhood - ST

New developments should not be autarchic but help create lively neighborhoods. Therefore programs are mixed up: housing, offices, retail, culture, sport, leisure… In Strasbourg, the existing and the new urban fabric merge around a public spine activated with commercial and recreational programs. Between the bridges a mixed-use landscaped building articulates the different topography levels and provides an additional N/S connection. Two natures of public space coexist: the strips perpendicular to the Rhine have an urban character, the treatment of the river banks and the spine echo the presence of water.

Neighborhood - K

The built and un-built strips unfolding perpendicular to the river help dissolve the perception of infrastructural borders. In Kehl, they provide the possibility for the city-center to extend in new forms and programs. North of the railway lines former military barracks’ are integrated in a new diverse neighborhood mixing up housing (collective, terrace, town houses), offices, as well as commercial and cultural programs. Along the river, a wide space for promenade incorporates new N/S connections and integrates an existing marina.

Bridges & passages

From riverbank to riverbank, neighborhood to neighborhood, new bridges and passages help to overcome the many borders on the site. Connected with new programs and uses they generate a multitude of singular micro situations.


What if it was all about topography? What if the evidence was geographical? The Rhine, from Basel to Rotterdam? Rivers as places overturning the traditional opposition between city and nature, local and global? Fluviality as a new metropolitan condition, bringing together the natural and the cultural in a non hierarchical way?

Project Data



The competition focused on the transformation of the old French and German customs in Strasbourg and Kehl, la cour des douanes and Zollhofareal, located on both sides of the Rhine.

Client: Stadt Kehl and Communauté urbaine de Strasbourg

Status: competition 2012-2013, Competition 1st prize, Since May 2013; further studies

Location: anciennes cours des douanes de Strasbourg (FR), Ancienne Zollhofareal à Kehl (DE)

Surface: 20 hectares



Architects: LIN Architects Urbanists, Finn Geipel, Giulia Andi, David Levain, Bruno Pinto da Cruz, Thomas Untersweg, Fabienne Boudon, Andrea Alessio, Nagma Sharma, Jonas Tratz; Landscape: Bassinet Turquin

Paysage, Paris - Grégoire Bassinet, Rémy Turquin; Lighting & Sustainability: Arup, Berlin Philosophy: Joseph Hanimann, Paris.



Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Image 1/7
Image 2/7
Am Rhein
Image 3/7
Neighborhood - ST
Image 4/7
Neighborhood - K
Image 5/7
Bridges & passages
Image 6/7
Image 7/7
Category Ref. Title Year City Country Type Status
Architecture BGW Bremer Punkt Bremer Punkt 2017 Bremen Germany Housing Realized + 1856
Architecture SCD Cite du design Cite du design 2009 Saint Etienne France Culture Realized + 1848
Architecture PAQ Housing Building, Quai Henri IV Housing Building, Quai Henri IV 2015 Paris France Housing Realized + 1713
Architecture SNA Alveole 14 Alveole 14 2007 Saint- Nazaire France Culture Realized + 1490
Urban PAM Grand Paris Métropole Douce Grand Paris Métropole Douce 2008 Paris France Urban Design Study + 1372
Architecture BT2 Typenhochhaus Typenhochhaus 2017 Berlin Germany Housing Competition first prize + 1008
Architecture SWF Sevran mixed use and housing building Sevran mixed use and housing building 2014 Sevran France Housing Lot I completion September 2018, Lot III completion March 2019 + 1170
Architecture PRC Mixed use and housing building Mixed use and housing building 2014 Paris France Housing under construction + 1142
Architecture N6N Halle 6 Halle 6 2015 Nantes France Culture competition, 1st prize + 1153
Design PAR Permanent Exhibition Space Permanent Exhibition Space 2003 Paris France Exhibition Realized + 1187
Architecture TAC Achillion coastal platform Achillion coastal platform 1997 Thesaaloniki Greece Mobility Competition + 1225
Architecture NAC Nîmes Arena Nîmes Arena 1989 Nîmes France Culture Realized + 1675
Architecture AMF Metafort Multimedia Research Centre Metafort Multimedia Research Centre 1998 Aubervillers France Culture Competition + 1307
Architecture LEC National School of Art National School of Art 1994 LIimoges France Education Realised + 1256
Architecture OKH Oldenburg House Oldenburg House 2003 Oldenburg Germany Residential Realized + 1252
Urban ATLAS Atlas Actif des Vallees Stephanoises Atlas Actif des Vallees Stephanoises 2008 Saint Etienne France Research Complete + 1250
Art BSY Synchron Synchron 2005 Berlin Germany Space sculpture Realized + 1265
Architecture POL Office building in Paris Office building in Paris 2012 Paris France Office Building Realized + 1295
Urban KSB Strasbourg - Kehl, Cour des Douanes - Zollhofareal Strasbourg - Kehl, Cour des Douanes - Zollhofareal 2013 Strasbourg / Kehl France / Germany Urban Design Competition First Prize + 1227
Architecture BIN LIN office space LIN office space 2012 Berlin Germany Office Realized + 1408
Urbanism AMP Aix-en-Provence - Marseille Aix-en-Provence - Marseille 2015 Aix, Marsille, Provence France urban urban study + 1055
Design D+-0 Density +- 0 Density +- 0 2004 Paris France Exhibition Realized + 1335
Urbanism STA Urban study for the development of Sevran Urban study for the development of Sevran 2015 Sevran France urban study ongoing + 1137