Architecture of Cologne with ira scheibe

The fourth largest city in Germany, Cologne was founded in the first century as the Roman city of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippensium. Its iconic cathedral, Koelner Dom, is the seat of the catholic Archbishop of Cologne. The cathedral is famous for housing the bones of the three magi

This is Ira Shreibe; representing koelnarchitektur.de, a news website which promotes and discusses contemporary architecture in Cologne since 2000. She hosted our tour in association with her global network, Guiding Architects
"we are also offering tours because we really like to talk about architecture, and we like to explain what is going on in our cities. We are part of an international network... offering tours throughout the world; we are partners in the United States as well, and I would like to welcome you to our city."
the Domplatz before the war

Our tour took us through the "Altstadt," the old city center. Ira's discussion focused on architecture and urban planning in Cologne following the devastation of WWII

pictured top: cologne before the war circa 1935. Pictured below: cologne after bombs destroyed the entire city. only koelner dom was spared
do we rebuild Cologne as she was, or do we build our city new?

Cologne was subjected to the automotive boom following WWII, much like the USA

fortunately, Cologne realized that this disconnect was a problem, and gave space back to pedestrians

going many years without a master plan in place, much of the Altstadt battles with itself between contemporary design, historicism, and pure neglect

despite all this, the domplatz remains the city's cultural hub

© Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

how does modern architecture intersect with the historic?

to allow entry to its popular tower climb regardless of service schedules, the Cologne cathedral held a competition to create a separate tourist entry to climb the tower's 509 steps. The winning architect chose to sink the entry below the cathedral, and created an elegant entry from the dom platz which also becomes an archeological exhibit. The entry tunnels through the cathedral's foundations, revealing the tapestry of stone on which the church sits

modernism & reconstruction

the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, by Oswald Mathias Ungers, is a work of architecture theory come to life. Its three administrative volumes mimics the three historic structures which shares its city block

the architecture of anarchy

leftover spaces, like this parking garage kiosk, are disappearing as Cologne continues to develop into a contemporary city

the Cologne Opera by Wilhelm Riphahn undergoes renovation, but its brutalist stage towers remain part of its iconic facade

die schildergasse

Apple Store photographs by Thomas Park

when renzo piano designs a department store

the Dischhaus: one of the only examples of german modernism which survived the war

Kolumba Kunstmuseum

Designed by Peter Zumthor, and completed in 2007, the Kolumba museum gently rests upon the ruins of the late gothic Church of St. Columba, which was destroyed in World War II and replaced in 1950 by a Gottfried Böhm chapel nicknamed the "Madonna of the Ruins".

custom-made grey bricks unite the destroyed fragments of the site.

the rheinauhafen

outside the Altstadt, new urban areas are rising with a level of detail and planning which displays a very bright future for the development of Cologne. I was given the opportunity to walk the newly redeveloped district of the rheineauhafen, the historic commercial harbor for all incoming mercantile ships

auf wiedersehen!

A special thanks to Ira Scheibe for a beautiful and in-depth look at the development and reconstruction of this beautiful city. Please visit her organizations on the web

Created By
Daniel Alderman
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