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Bad Godesberg town centre: Architects present new plans

Work to start in 2022 : Architects present their plans for Bad Godesberg’s town centre

Architects from Berlin have presented their ideas for the town centre in Bad Godesberg. Whether many of these plans can be implemented at all also depends on the people of Bad Godesberg themselves. The first construction phase is due to start at the Fronhof in 2022.

Tancredi Capatti is a man with a vision - especially for Bad Godesberg's town centre. The 49-year-old architect from the Berlin company Capattistaubach Urbane Landschaften won the competition procedure for the redesign of the Bad Godesberg City public space together with O&O Baukunst and Plan und Recht. He presented his vision to the public on Wednesday evening with architect Markus Penell from O&O Baukunst. “The town has experienced glamorous and turbulent times. We want to create a better quality of life again,” says Capatti. In Bad Godesberg’s town centre there are some “disturbing elements” that need to be removed, he said, in order to create an atmosphere that makes people feel good. The overall design is primarily focused on the atmosphere and quality of time spent in the centre.

Many ideas and visions for Bad Godesberg

“The main axis between the Godesburg and the Kurpark has been partially destroyed and is to be restored,” says the 49-year-old. He also said that they were talking about visions for many years in the future. For example, less traffic should flow around the Kurpark, which would then be diverted via the Kurfürstenallee. The train station is to become a hub for e-mobility in the future. The water elements in the town centre are intended to create a connection to the Godesberger Bach and thus help to build an identity - although many people from Bad Godesberg have a rather strained relationship with the river due to the flooding and destruction. Capatti provided a time frame of up to 2050.

Presentation made at the Muschelbühne

The venue chosen for the presentation was the Muschelbühne (shell stage) at the Stadthalle. Almost 50 people from Bad Godesberg, including politicians from the district council, attended Capatti's presentation. City planning officer Helmut Wiesner described the Berliners’ plans as the “basis for urban development”. Kerstin Hemminger from the municipal planning office was pleased that “Bonn is now getting something back from Berlin.”

The question, however, is which parts of the plan can actually be made a reality. Some things - especially concerning the pedestrian zone - appear to be implementable, but others not so. For example, the planners have removed some buildings in the town centre or made major changes to their exteriors. In reality, this is not so easy to do, because the respective owners are free to do whatever they want with their properties - as long as they do not violate the municipal by-laws. In addition, retailers, doctors and people from Bad Godesberg have their apartments in the respective buildings. When asked what Capatti thinks is really feasible, he has a clear answer: “Everything is feasible if the city community goes along with it”.

Bad Godesbergers should get involved

A lot depends on the people of Bad Godesberg, which is something the Bonn city authorities also outlined in an earlier communication. “By upgrading the public space, the city hopes to attract private investment. To this end, the city will enter into close dialogue with the property owners,” it says. “If the owners don't go along with it, then that's it for the vision,” says Capatti.

But some of the other plans also raise questions. Like, for example, the upgrade of the centre of the Old Town. Here, among other things, the grand staircase is to be changed. It was designed by star architect Gottfried Böhm from Cologne, who died this year. Due to copyright law, it is questionable whether such a change is possible. “We could use the staircase as a base and then gradually build small plateaus, with trees and a seating area,” Capatti suggests.

Water elements must be well thought out

The planned water elements in the town centre also need to be thought out. At the moment, during heavy rainfall, water collects in the streets and finds its way into the sewage system. What would happen if water permanently flowed through the city at selected points? Capatti explains that there are solutions for this too, for example with underground collection basins or drainage. In the end, planning is also a question of cost.

Many questions raised

The attendees of the presentation also had many questions. For some, the visions were too vague and did not detail what should be implemented and when. “They didn't address accessibility at all and I don't see any references to it on the plans,” Joachim Marx told the planner after the presentation. Marx is a wheelchair user and reported on his problems in the town. Capatti assured him that accessibility will be considered even if it is not written in the plans.

Renovate existing fountains instead of building new ones

Criticism came from local businesses. “We already have many fountains and trees in the city. Can't they be cleaned and repaired first instead of building new ones?” asked Nicola Linde, who has a shop in Bürgerstraße. For this question she received loud applause from those present. Annegret Portsteffen, who also runs a shop in Bürgerstraße, wanted to know exactly where the work would start. After all, she said, businesses have already had to put up with many restrictions due to the earlier work on Koblenzer Straße and the Corona lockdowns.

Construction to start next year

The city authorities state that work is to begin next year. Six million euros are to be invested in the public space between Fronhof and the Theaterplatz. By the end of September, the city will apply for state and federal funding and are counting on a 70 percent subsidy. For Tancredi Capatti, this first construction stage is one of the most important in the entire project. There are plans for seating, new surfacing for the pedestrian zone, a water feature and other street furniture. The draft is ready, but now it is time to start planning. “Everything in this first stage has to be perfect to be able to take the Bad Godesbergers further,” says Capatti.

(Original text: Maximilian Mühlens, Translation: Caroline Kusch)