Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler

Guest Lecturer(s)

Mario Frank, Julian Hoffmann


In a collective workshop on the site of the former freight station Cologne-Ehrenfeld, open forms of gathering are tested in order to bring urban actors, narratives and objects into relation with each other. The focus here is on experimental construction as a method of exploration and intervention that creates new possibilities for the emergence of public spheres.

The site of the stattInsel WESTSPITZE collective, on which the building of the former railroad headquarters stands, serves as a field of experimentation. It forms the western part of the area that, after urban political disputes, is being transformed into a high-priced residential area. A new, more than 500-meter-long and nearly twelve-meter-high noise protection wall powerfully demarcates the area from the railroad embankment. The area is characterized by traffic infrastructures, economic and political networks, and operations of connection and exclusion. At the same time, initiatives for the common good with their civic engagement spark a dynamic there that eludes the logic of capitalist-focused spatial productions. For this very reason, the site offers an exciting environment for a project that calls for the development of alternative spaces for gathering and negotiating.

The following questions are particularly noteworthy here: How do cultural and artistic initiatives bring about city-changing developments? What influence do self-organized actors have on urban planning when they reprogram abandoned building structures and spaces? How can specific social practices create spaces of the in-between that become nuclei of a new urbanity and experimental fields of urban culture? What role does experimental building play here?

In the workshop, a flexible material system will be designed and structurally implemented that can be arranged into various forms of an open stage – an experimental venue for performative and discursive formats. The goal is to open the urban space in between the stattInsel WESTSPITZE for diverse actors of the urban society and to transform it into a new space for social participation.

Organized by Prof. Carolin Höfler, Mario Frank and Julian Hoffmann with Nastasja Bauknecht, Nastasia Dabringhaus, Luisa Emilie Hensel, Raphael Klug and Marco Struck from the TH Köln in collaboration with Amon Nanz, Uli Ries, Martin Schmittseifer and Fabian Wetter from stattInsel WESTSPITZE

With the kind support of Hendrik Arnold, head of the metal workshop, and Gerd Mies, head of the wood workshop of the Köln International School of Design of the TH Köln

Location: stattInsel WESTSPITZE – Am Alten Güterbahnhof, Maarweg 172, 50825 Cologne
Time: Mon., June 20 to Wed., July 06, 2022.
Presentation and get-together: Thurs., July 06, 2022, 2:00 p.m.

An event of the »Open Universities« of the TH Köln and the University of Cologne, funded by the RheinEnergie Stiftung within the context of the focus topic »Society and Digital Transformation«.

Picture: Renée Saja Harth, Former Ehrenfeld Freight Station, Cologne, 2022.