RWTH graduate wins prizes for master thesis

22/10/2020

Ava Mronz, Master's graduate of the winter semester 19/20, wins one of three 1st places of the "Förderpreis des Deutschen Instituts für Stadtbaukunst" and additionally the "DASL Förderpreis NRW".

 

Quatermarkt Alaaf: A house of carnival for the Via Culturalis, Cologne

 

The Theme

The carnival

The Cologne Carnival is a tradition whose origins go back as far as the founding of the city. Its roots lie in the Catholic Church, as it was and still is used to herald Lent. Before the beginning of Lent, people dress up in costumes and celebrate together. The carnival is an irreplaceable part of the city and is a major factor in establishing its identity beyond the city limits. This requires a structural manifestation in the form of a carnival house.


The place

The Via Culturalis

The Via Culturalis, a cultural axis in Cologne's old town, brings the city's rich history and culture to life. The route begins at Cologne Cathedral and runs from here 800 m to the south. Along the axis there are cultural monuments and public institutions such as the Roman-Germanic Museum, the town hall, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, the church ruins of St. Alban and the archaeological zone.


Quatermarkt, Cologne

Along the Via Culturalis there is also the Quaternary market. The urban structure already formed the town in Roman times. Although the name suggests a market place, the town was a closed block structure until the destruction of the war. The alleyway represents the extension of the Schildergasse - the city's decumanus at the time. After the destruction, an office building was erected here that was torn out of its context, leaving the place as a disordered fragment in the urban space.


The house

Type

The question of how the cultural institution can be structurally manifested is decisive for the design. Carnival is a colourful, traditional and diverse festival. The focus is above all on the community. This is the basis for the main function of the building, which is the assembly and thus the festival hall. In addition, the administration of the festival committee, an exhibition area and an archive are located here. The different uses are separated on the ground floor by separate entrances on the three sides of the building.


Figure

The urbanistic figure of the design is significantly influenced by the historical development. Derived from the original development of the site, the design recreates a closed block, thus calming the heterogeneous urban context.


House within a house

The guiding design idea follows the principle of the house-in-house. This typology emerges from its use and formulates the ballroom as the central element. The double shell allows the shell and core to be clearly separated from each other and at the same time enters into a symbiosis. The hall represents the most valuable element and is protected by the surrounding mantle, which houses the serving functions. Towards the urban space, the gabled roof clearly marks the position of the house and can be perceived from many perspectives, near and far.


Transformation

The theme of transformation during the Cologne carnival is characteristic of the architecture. The festivities transform the city and its inhabitants. This aspect shapes the appearance of the building, so that it is transformed from the outside, dressed in red clinker bricks, to the inside, here in yellow clinker bricks, as well. This change is particularly evident in the threshold situation between the shell and the core. Motifs such as the sweeping façade elements, segmental arches and the roof sails pick up on the festive nature of the carnival.