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Hicog in Bad Godesberg: New architectural guide shows American settlement

Hicog in Bad Godesberg : New architectural guide shows American settlement

An architectural guide presents Bonn's Hicog settlements in the American quarter in Bonn-Plittersdorf. They are distinguished by their special construction methods.

It had been there for all religious communities, the Stimson Memorial Church named after the US Secretary of State for War and Foreign Affairs, who died in 1950. As a monument visible from afar, it stands in one of the three HICOG settlements that the victorious power America erected in Bonn at the beginning of the 1950s. In this very church, cultural scientist Alexander Kleinschrodt from the Werkstatt Baukultur recently presented the latest architectural guide, which documents the distinctive features and monumental value of the settlements in words and pictures.

According to Kleinschrodt, of the 13 architectural guides published so far, this is the one that looks at the largest spatial extent from the northern Tannenbusch through the geographically central Plittersdorf to the southern settlement of Pennenfeld-Muffendorf. The 67-page work from the publishing house Dreiviertelhaus does not focus on a single building, but on the structure of the entire buildings created at that time, their special features and their conservation value. Active members of the initiatives Dünenfüchse Tannenbusch, the citizens' initiative "Rettet die Amerikanische Siedlung Plittersdorf", R.A.S.P. for short, and the tenants' initiative from the Muffendorf-Pennenfeld housing estate also contributed to the informative architectural guide.

The central theme of the lectures given by Kleinschrodt and Rolf Fischer, chairman of the citizens' initiative RASP (Rettet die Amerikanische Siedlung Plittersdorf), was the combination of representative yet airy architecture. Kleinschrodt picked out an example of lightness in Tannenbusch, for example, in the elevated steel skeleton construction of a high-rise building, which could be exactly reproduced in the exterior. The building was completed in 1951. "You will hardly find building measures of this magnitude from the time of the emerging Federal Republic of Germany", the cultural scientist clarified the uniqueness of the works documented by buildings in these three settlements.

Settlements are a political document of the time

In Kleinschrodt's opinion, the preservation value of the settlements as monuments is made up of the factors of architecture, testimony value for this striking period, appreciation in the sense of sustainability and the civil society aspect. After the first ideas on Monument Day, it had become clear to him "that there are committed people here who are committed to monument conservation," said Kleinschrodt. It should not go unmentioned that the initiatives are clearly opposed to the structural consolidation efforts of politics. In the eyes of those involved, ruthless construction measures that destroy the outward appearance of housing estates are the wrong way to create living space in view of the expansion and conversion possibilities of the existing building fabric, including in basements and under the roofs.

Helmut Bialek has lived in one of the settlements since 2002. "It is still beautiful here and we hope that it will remain that way for a long time to come," he commented on the topic. The need to create living space is undoubtedly there. The fact that the airy character of the settlements with lots of nature and trees could be lost between the buildings obviously also worried him.

For co-author Gerhard Arndt from the settlement in Muffendorf-Pennenfeld, the architecturally special settlements not only showed the value of architecture, the settlements were also a political document of the time: "One clearly turned away from the building structures of the Hitler era. In addition, it was clearly evident that the Allies did not act destructively here after the victory, but pushed forward the rebuilding of the country.

(Original text: Petra Reuter; Translation: Mareike Graepel)