The coronavirus hit the world like a meteorite impact. Since then, drastic changes in behavior have been taking place at a speed and consistency that was hardly thought possible: Working in the home office is becoming the new standard, as is shopping at the click of a mouse. These significant changes in behavior will foreseeably lead to a crisis in the inner cities, whose attractiveness must henceforth be rethought beyond fast-food restaurants and shopping malls.
Our thesis is: The inner city will either be given back to the small-scale local manufactories and non-commercial, social and cultural engagement, or it will be deserted. But if the cities react quickly to the 'New Normal', the pandemic is an excellent opportunity for a structural and permanent paradigm shift towards a city, that belongs to its residents again.
The unpopular Ebertplatz
One of the central inner city squares in Cologne is the Ebertplatz. It is located as a lowered ‘traffic island’ in the middle of multi-lane roads. A large number of pedestrian ramps, and tunnels lead from its center to underground stations and to neighboring quarters. In strong smelling, dark passageways it offers small retail spaces for which tenants have hardly been found for years. The conception of the square is based on the far to optimistic concept of a sparsely automobilized city from the 1960s, which it no longer corresponds to today's situation. Nevertheless, the Ebertplatz is lively: Young skaters, strollers, bon vivants, dealers, daydreamers and homeless people appreciate its informal, unregulated, non-commercial and somewhat rustic, slightly neglected charm.
ACCORDION HANGAR _A new social space for a Post-Covid society
Our project links the improvable situation of the Ebertplatz with the Corona-related crisis and opportunity in downtown Cologne. We are designing a new type of theatrical space on the square itself. We propose an informal, cultural forum that addresses the Corona-related conversion of social togetherness.
The square is now raised at street level and the streets, which are too wide, are dismantled and given over to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
We propose a transformable open air forum – THE ACCORDION HANGAR – for expected and unexpected cultural appropriations. (Theater, dance, cinema, concerts, poetry slams, markets, demonstrations, hearings ...)
It is intended to strengthen the Ebertplatz as a non-profit cultural location, to establish it as an experimental discourse location of a 'Post-Corona city.' In this project we see at the same time the realistic chance for a post fossile city of Cologne. (Priority for pedestrians and cyclists) That leads to a significant improvement of the urban climate as it has only become possible through the Corona shock.
At this open-air forum for the people of Cologne they can explore ideas and concepts for the future of their city.