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Experiential city history: Free guided tours of Bonn subway stops

Experiential city history : Free guided tours of Bonn subway stops

During „Subway Week“, the Werkstatt Baukultur Bonn guides visitors through the distinctive subway stops of the main line. Each of them has its own special features.

Everyone knows them, almost everyone uses them, but only a few really perceive them: For most people, the stations of the Bonn subway are not much more than transfer points between work and private life, bus shelters made of plastic and ceramics, where they don't want to spend more time than necessary.

The stations of the so-called main line between Bonn main station and Bad Godesberg can make the history of the city tangible in a very special way, as the workshop Baukultur Bonn impressively proves. During „Subway Week“, the association offers free guided tours through five different stations in order to point out their architectural features and thus promote their designation as architectural monuments. In fact, there is more concealed behind the façade than can be seen at first glance.

At the end of the 1960s, the Bonn subway was a prestige project of the federal government and an attempt to at least symbolically declare the former federal village a metropolis. "At the opening of the main line on 20 March 1975, Bonn was the smallest city in West Germany with such a route network," explained Alexander Kleinschrodt of the Werkstatt Baukultur during the first guided tour on Monday evening at the Universität/Markt stop. "The emphasis was on a modern, forward-looking design: soft edges, polygonal shapes or light bands that always remind me of the space aesthetics from the film ‚2001'".

Uni yellow-green, Juridicum blue

Architect Alexander Freiherr von Branca, who later also designed several Munich underground stations, had even provided the individual stops with identification colours. Yellow-green for the university, blue for the Juridicum, chocolate brown for the Koenig Museum. "Unfortunately, repairs often use elements that are not in the original colours or use a different font - something like this could be avoided," said Kleinschrodt. "There is simply a lack of sensitivity for the protection of historical monuments. After all, subway stations are time capsules for architectural history."

The numerous listeners attended with open ears. "I was a student in Bonn in 1976. But back then I hardly noticed that there was a subway in the city," said Helmut Bolt. "But I find it extremely exciting to learn the background to the stations." Bettina Nöthe added: “I find it admirable that the Werkstatt Baukultur makes such an offer and enlightens citizens about design ideas from that time. Please note: The tours are in German but still very interesting.

Additional dates:

This week the Werkstatt Baukultur offers free 30-minute guided tours of the various underground stations along the main line every evening from 6 p.m.: this Wednesday "Bundesrechnungshof" (meeting point entrance Arndtstraße/ Adenauerallee); Thursday "MuseumKoenig" (meeting point entrance Museum Adenauerallee 160); Friday "Heussallee" (meeting point entrance Kunstmuseum, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 2).

(Original text: Thomas Kölsch, Translation: Mareike Graepel)