Plittersdorf Instead of redensification with new buildings, the association „Rettet die Amerikanische Siedlung Plittersdorf“ (RASP, German for: „Save the American Settlement“) is focusing on the further expansion of attics and basements. However, the entire complex is a listed building.
If plans for redensification emerge, this ususally pleases all those looking for accommodation and horrifies the preservers. Rolf Fischer already belongs to the latter group as chairman of the association "Rettet die Amerikanische Siedlung Plittersdorf" (RASP). It is therefore surprising that the resident of the listed settlement himself warms up the idea of redensification - but one from above and below.
"Up to 130 two-room flats of 50 to 75 square metres could be built in the American settlement," says Fischer. His approach: the municipal housing association Vebowag could continue its project to expand the attic and basement floors. In 14 of the three-storey houses, this will be done in the course of a renovation from 2012. "But the programme ended at some point, I suppose for financial reasons," Fischer said. He still sees capacity in 34 of the 51 houses.
In the basement lived the maids of the embassy staff
For the 74-year-old, the basement in the former apartment blocks of the American embassy employees is a perfect place to be. "Maids were assigned to each flat, who in turn had their rooms in the basement," says Fischer, who has acquired a great deal of expertise about his living environment. The former Vebowag idea is not only historically appropriate for him, but also in terms of monument protection, "if living space has to be created here". "Not only does the roof construction, for example, remain untouched, you can see almost nothing of the intervention from the outside", Fischer emphasises. In fact, the roof windows facing the street are just as unnoticeable as the indentations of the roof terraces on the park side.
Stefan Wolter stands in one of these and enjoys the view of the greenery - including the Siebengebirge mountains. The marketing specialist's condominium is 70 square metres in size. In addition to the bedroom and living room, there is an open kitchen and a large bathroom. "I don't want to leave here anymore," says the honorary RASP archivist, who has furnished his flat with various US commemorative objects. A small disadvantage according to Wolter: the high room temperature in summer.
Up to 260 new citizens would be possible
In a neighbouring house on Europastrasse, Clemens Cichocki first has to work a bit until he has a view. In front of the windows of his 55 square metre flat there are still the bars of the maids' rooms. Cichocki works as a national base coach for the baseball Bundesliga club Bonn Capitals and has lived in Plittersdorf for two years. "The area here is great," enthuses the sportsman, who likes that the stadium is in walking distance.
So in theory, everything is good in terms of adding another floor. But would the area be able to accommodate up to 260 new residents? Fischer and his board of directors don't see a problem with that, but rather with the number of parking spaces, which would have to increase by 120 in line with the number of flats. "It's not that we want to advertise the expansion, but we are always accused of preventing new buildings, so we show alternatives", says the chairman.
Vebowag and the city are cautious
However, the potential client, Vebowag, is taciturn about this initiative and about questions from the GA. "After completion of the kindergarten and extensive modernisation and repair work, the subject 'American settlement' has been dealt with for the next few years," says Michael Kleine-Hartlage, member of the board. There are no problems at the moment, he says, but rather that the settlement is popular and is experiencing high demand.
The city's lower monument protection authority also responded briefly. "Regarding the examination of conversion projects under monument protection law such as. roof or basement conversions, it is imperative that detailed consideration be given to the planning (depth of intervention) and justification (public interests that are at least equivalent to those of monument protection). However, no applications for redensification of the Ami settlement are currently available or known. However, at least there was a concrete assessment from the city: there were enough parking spaces available for the expansion from 2012.
(Original text: Silke Elbern / Translation: Mareike Graepel)