The planning and development of urban spaces under a neoliberal logic lead to effects of massive gentrification that can cause substantial physical displacements of populations. The urban tissue, as stated by Lefebvre, concentrates dynamics of transformation and social conflict, but at the same time, it defines strategies and countercultural devices that don’t integrate to the city systems as utopian places, but as authentic experiments of new ways of communal living.
CityLeaks Urban Art Festival, perfectly matches with this second approach, proposing a moment of reflection whilst experimenting directly new ways of inhabiting the city.
The location of the intervention is Ehrenfeld, a district of Köln in Germany, that has been experiencing deep changes through the past decades, and will most likely see increasing transformation in the future. In thisever-changing scenery, temporary architecture and public programs can be powerful tools to investigate and test the possible transformations that public space can accomplish.
Starting from this statement, the residency was divided in three moments: the “Research Residency“, the “Construction Residency” and the “CityLeaks Academy”. We laid out our residency as an assemblage process.We started by exploring the neighborhood and its history, observing the simultaneous presences and thedifferent ways of inhabiting and behavior, collecting material and immaterial by-products of this stratification. Through this active research we tried to comprehend and recompose this multifaceted realityin an original form. What came out was a temporary common living room: a space to debate and gather, “a highly imageable space, to invite the ear and the eye to a higher attention and participation” [Lynch, 1960].
During the “Research Residency”, we found “Simul et Singulis” literally “simultaneously and singular”, the leitmotiv of our project. The expression derives from the Comédie-Française and is generally translated as “be together and beoneself”. It expresses an assemblage, where the parts contribute to the definition of the whole.
“Simul et Singulis” is a set of interventions created to host the CityLeaks 2019 festival edition Re:public. Thelocation are three covered arches under the elevated railway at Hüttenstrasse in Köln, which lacked publicactivity since the railway extensions in the 90ies. These semi-abandoned spaces showed great potential as anextension of public space.
During the “Construction residency”, we built, together with a group of inhabitants, temporary structures that formed three new spaces: First a covered piazza featuring a kiosk and a DIY print shop. Second a theater for public events, presentations and performances, characterized by the mobile bridge and bleachers. And third the headquarter with a carpentry workshop, office and storage. The piazza and the theater were accessible to everyone, even outside the program of activities proposed by the festival, open to simultaneous uses both spontaneous or organized.
Following the “CityLeaks Academy” started in September, dedicated to the exploration of the street space. We cooperated with students of the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences and the TH Cologne torealize informal temporary architecture to invade the adjacent space of the arches, the road and the square. These structures completed the project, transforming the Hüttenstrasse and the railway arches into one common space.
public space reactivation
July - September 2019
Hüttenstraße, 50823 Cologne (opposite house no. 3) - Cologne, Germany
Robert Winter, Michael Heuss, orizzontale, Willem Jan Beeren, Robert Winter
Andrew Streets, Alina Krischke, Anika Lückoff, Anna Wahlen, Daniel Rico, Eike Bosbach, Felix Büchel, Gabriel Martin, Georg Barringhaus, Gertraud Mittermaier, Giulia Ragni, Hanno Mühlenbach, Hans-Dieter Over, Ivan Simotti, Yusuf Erdemir, Jan-Philipp Neuer, Katrina Gabriel, Matthias Gass, Michael Daun, Moretta Mc lean, Olga Funk, Philipp Sauren, Roberto Leven, Robert Jannsen, Sabine Kern, Sandra Uckermann, Sebastian Jacobs, Simon Rumeney, Sven Johannsen, Thomas Quack, Wolfgang Zeh Architects
Teachers and Advisor Alanus University: Willem-Jan Beeren, Miriam Hamel TH Köln:Yasemin Utku, Horst Kuretitsch, Jan Philipp Skoda Students Alanus University: Gabriel Cruz, Florian Plum, Kadir Yilmaz Students TH Köln: Mona Ebelt, Lennart Faltin, Marius Hilterhaus, Beles Hollwege, Norman Kalesse, Sabine Albert, Christiana Helfrich, Michael Heuss, Anja Jokanovic, Helen Luginger, Ibra Ahulu N´Diaye, Olivia Oelsen, Cathrine Sachweh, Jakob Schäfer