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New ideas from Alanus students: Sea containers should upgrade the Rhine promenade in Bonn

New ideas from Alanus students : Sea containers should upgrade the Rhine promenade in Bonn

Students from Alanus University have analysed the river bank area between the north and south bridges. Among other things, the prospective architects suggest a new approach to the old sea containers.

Outside you can hear the Rhine flowing. This is an unusual sound on the Budapester Straße opposite the new Sparkasse building, where buses and cars heading to Friedensplatz usually determine the background noise. But the river is a guest, so to speak, at the Forum Stadt Bau Kultur. And it is calling in passers-by over the loudspeakers.

Students at Alanus University in Alfter have spent an entire semester considering how the relationship between the Rhine and the residents of Bonn could be improved. This is part of a joint project offered by the Faculty of Architecture and the General-Anzeiger. The prospective architects have delivered on their commitments and have been so creative that the results have found their way into the two exhibition rooms on the Budapester Straße.

Jakob Krauss pores over a city map on which various buildings are marked in colour. "We analysed and categorised the river bank area from the north to the south bridge," reports the student. The plan is not the only result. An entire book has been written which visitors will be able to borrow in the coming weeks for exploring the Rhine. It shows for example an interesting cultural axis from the Bundeskunsthalle to the Beethovenhalle.

Krauss also sees a lot of good things on the river bank area itself, such as the Heimkehrerweg, which leads from the roundabout at the boat jetty through the Bundesviertel under the southern bridge. In other places, Krauss and his fellow students Michael Kretschmer and Alexander Jensch Herold were able to make simple improvements from their surveying. The young people think that a signpost is missing at the Palais Schaumburg park indicating the Chancellor's bungalow. And in general, Krauss asks, "why don't you make it a freely accessible Park of Democracy?"

In the direction of the city centre, the students especially see the street along the Rhine as a barrier between the city and the river. They believe that an open staircase on the Brassertufer could lead directly down to the river without any traffic. "You can easily handle this bit of traffic," says architect Nikolaus Fritschi at the opening ceremony. Together with Benedikt Stahl, he has worked to make the banks of the Rhine in Düsseldorf accessible again. Fritschi and Stahl believe that architecture is only a means to an end. It should also revitalise the area along the river bank in a sustainable way. "We were surprised at how well this succeeded in Düsseldorf," said Fritschi.

The situation in Bonn will not change in the short term (as previously reported by GA in a German article entitled “Rheinufer bleibt Pflegefall” about the poor and often dangerous condition of the river bank area which is not due to be renovated until next year for the Beethoven anniversary in 2020). Ines Gartlinger and Alisa Giesler have been considering this case. In the exhibition, they present their #BonnBox, which could theoretically set new standards in the coming year in the city and on the Rhine. The young women believe that disused sea containers from the port of Bonn could be used as multifunctional spaces with recognition value.

For example as a mobile kiosk or café, as an urgently needed public toilet or as a storage space for bicycles. Behind the opera it would even be possible to install an elevator with a projecting scaffold, to reach the banks of the Rhine from the Boeselager Hof, providing access for wheelchairs and pushchairs. "The containers could easily be moved in the event of flooding. And when the Rhine bank is renovated in the future, the containers can be replaced," Gartlinger and Giesler are convinced. A nice project for Beethoven's anniversary year in 2020. It seems unlikely, however, that those in charge at the city council will be concerned with the students’ findings.

The exhibition at Budapester Straße 7 is open on Thursdays until 13 December and also on Saturday 1 December, from 11.30 am until 7.30 pm (in German). On 1 December the students are offering accompanied walking tours along the Rhine from 12 noon until 3pm.

(Original text: Martin Wein, Translation: Caroline Payne)