Windeck shelter at Budapester Straße City of Bonn wants to sell bunker in the city center

Bonn · There have already been many ideas for the future of the Windeck bunker in the city centre. Now the city wants to sell it. The planning provides for more greenery up to the bastion wall and the Haus der Bildung.

 Climbing plants have taken over the bunker facade.

Climbing plants have taken over the bunker facade.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

The future use of the Windeck bunker has been the subject of many a Bonn city leader's grudge. What the bunker could become and what it should or should not be: Refugee accommodation for Romanian asylum seekers in the 1990s (successful protests followed), rehearsal space for music bands, the headquarters of a research centre for photography and finally - still under former mayor Jürgen Nimptsch - a venue for parties. Nothing came of all this. And so the climbing plants continue to conquer the façade of the 21-metre high, stately bunker near the Haus der Bildung in the city centre.

In some of the rooms of the six-storey high bunker, "files from various specialist departments" are stored, as Max Jantschek, head of the Central Services Department in the Personnel and Organisation Office, said during a site visit. Through a locked gate the way leads into the bare, white rooms. The flat terrace can be reached via narrow stairs. The wide view of the Kreuzberg is impressive.

In its last meeting before the summer break, the planning committee had cleared the way for a redesign of the high bunker and its surroundings including greenery up to the Budapester Straße on one side and up to the bastion wall at the Florentiusgraben behind the Kleiner Laden, a bookstore for children and youth literature, on the other side. The inclusion of the House of Education is also part of the structural concept. In September, the city council is expected to approve an application for funding to the Cologne district government, which has yet to be prepared, in order to put the funding on a firm footing.

The noble goals of upgrading this corner, which is steeped in history, can be seen in the administrative bill. In the master plan for the inner city, the urban development and design advisory board had already made recommendations: opening the bunker roof to the public, a "liveable" bastion wall, keeping the bookshop (possibly also in a new building), public participation in the future plans. The administration itself considers the expansion of the existing children's playground to be desirable, also because the city centre can hardly be called child friendly in this respect.

The city announced: "As a result, the advisory council has welcomed the concept of a combination of public-cultural use with an added residential tower, especially as a strengthening of the residential function in the city centre". This assessment was based on initial expressions of interest from investors. However, the policy would have to change the development plan for a significant extension. The structural concept for the future use of the bunker mentions a mixed use of housing and culture, gastronomy or rows of shops. Now, according to the proposal of the administration, which was followed by the policy, the tender for the sale of the bunker is to be carried out, whether it is to be leased or sold in its entirety. In the hope, of course, of being served, creative and economic solutions go hand in hand with the above ideas. Bunker conversions have already taken place: for example at Beueler Goetheallee and Quirinusplatz in Dottendorf.

But on Budapester Straße, the listed buildings of the bunker, bastion wall and Old Town House (today's House of Education) should also be mentioned. The city's lower monument protection authority considers a moderate increase of the Windeck bunker to be "conceivable". The LVR office is critical of an "urban planning dominant". The planning office also notes that the future height should not compete with traditional high points of the city silhouette like church towers.

Even if the implementation of the planning will certainly take years, the city council somehow has to deliver. During the conversion of the Altes Stadthaus into the Haus der Bildung (House of Education), urban development funds from the state of Baden-Württemberg were used. Also under the premise of developing the open spaces up to the bastion wall the city has to submit further proposals to the Cologne district government.

(Original text: Philipp Königs / Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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