Town Planning in Democratic Structures

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O&O Baukunst asks questions: Is our democracy a good or a bad building contractor? Who develops the city? What do we refer to when we speak of identity-creating architecture? How can cities have a better design despite their rapid growth?

In democratic structures, the further development of cities can no longer be achieved without the participation of the city’s inhabitants. Authoritarian “top-down planning” is a thing of the past. The theme weeks with O&O Baukunst deal with this contemporary research. Based on its responsibility to society as a whole, the architectural office involves citizens in its projects. The office develops innovative formats for the communication of architecture in order to make planning ideas comprehensible and tangible: discussion events, (art) exhibitions, interventions in public spaces and the writing of song lyrics and poems create a vibrant framework for this.

World-Architects, O&O Baukunst and C.FATH ARCHITECTURE COMMUNICATION question these processes from differentiated perspectives. Various formats document the project in the digital theme weeks by World-Architects.

Using selected building projects by O&O Baukunst, the topic is presented taking the city of Cologne as an example. In addition to the managing director of O&O Baukunst Köln, Prof. Christian Heuchel, important players in the Cologne building scene comment on these issues and provide insight into Cologne's current urban development.

  • Building with democracy – the elements of the city
  • “An invisible thread runs through our projects in Cologne. It reflects the dialogue with the urban society. The personal creative drive takes a back seat to democratic consensus. It is a liberation from the dictates of permanent innovation hysteria.
    Infinite knowledge is inscribed in the elements. For example, light is our origin, electricity keeps the digital production machine running, color radiates into our hearts, the tree is an ideological battlefield and, last but not least, the city is built of stones. The elements we use to build the city never change. In our podcast we will talk to people who know and shape the alphabet of the city.”
  • Prof. Christian Heuchel in August 2021

Projekt Partner Real Estate

GAG logo
  • GAG was founded in 1913 with the mission to provide broad sections of the Cologne population with housing at socially appropriate conditions. The company fulfils this mission with a portfolio of around 45,000 flats located throughout Cologne. Through extensive construction activities since its founding, GAG has enriched the cityscape with housing estates of high architectural quality, thereby proving itself to be a high-profile project developer.
  • Neighborhood culture with a fresh look

    Population growth, housing shortage, rising rents, the desire for livable accommodation — housing is a subject of intense political and social debate in Germany. Stakeholders in the housing industry are striving to meet the demands of people from all walks of life, both architecturally and ecologically. How can we proceed in a democratic way without losing the identity of our cities? Using Cologne as an example, we approach the answer to this question.

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  • Podcast Episode 2 with Christian Heuchel and Kathrin Möller (Duration 46:25 Min)

    „Lich, Luff un Bäumcher” – Urban Development, the Colognian Way

    In the second podcast episode, Christian Heuchel speaks with Kathrin Möller of Cologne’s residential housing company GAG Immobilien about housing being a crucial part of city life.

    How did people in the past and how can they approach today the challenges of quality living in Cologne in a pragmatic, authentic and ecological manner? Is it possible to combat the housing shortage without compromising other functions of the city? Does democracy help or hinder? And what does the Veedel-life in Cologne look like today?

Lighting Project Partner

selux logo
  • Light for generations.
  • For more than 70 years, Selux has been asking how public spaces can be optimally designed with light—for people and to be in harmony with nature. The internationally active manufacturer headquartered in Berlin develops lighting solutions that are geared towards a sustainable and liveable environment. Lighting design at Selux is modelled on nature: Its perfection, intelligence and beauty are the sources of inspiration for products that integrate harmoniously into urban spaces.
  • Light as part of identity-forming architecture

    In the midst of rapid climatic changes, urban space is also currently undergoing a phase of upheaval: open spaces and regionality are gaining in importance, the city is becoming greener and spending time in urban space is taking on communal characteristics. Architects, the city and...

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  • Podcast Episode 1 with Christian Heuchel and Klaus-Peter Siemssen (Duration 57:08 Min)

    Light — „the dinner jacket of the city“

    Can lighting design support a city’s identity and be individually adaptable? Who are the decision makers? Can a product be multifunctional and sustainable as well as meet our aesthetic demands? Is it possible to combine efficiency and emotion?

    In the first podcast episode Christian Heuchel speaks with Klaus-Peter Siemssen of luminaire manufacturer Selux about light in the urban space. Among other things, they share thoughts on the potential of Cologne’s Parkstadt Süd, nature being the perfect role model and the global transformation towards ecological urban planning.

A project by
  • Christian Heuchel, O&O Baukunst Köln
  • Anne Schloen, O&O Baukunst Köln
    [email protected]

Further activities of World-Architects