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Creating community spaces: transformation proposal for the Ebertplatz square in Cologne

Type: Master Thesis, Individual project

Year: 2018-2019

Supervisors: Jos Bosman, Marcel W. Musch & Henk Stadens (External coach)


Ebertplatz is one of the areas included in the Masterplan of Speer proposed in 2009 for the city of Cologne. According to that, the goal is to transform the site into an easily accessible and usable urban space. The square is fragmented and divided into three parts, so the masterplan seeks for a possible connection of the segments and restoration of the actual size of area’s urban dimension. More specifically, tall trees that are surrounding the square can play the role of the frame that defines the space. This proposal was not implemented and the square remains an unsolved problem for the city.


Examining the recent past can provide an interesting insight to the factors that contributed in the formation of location’s current situation. In the 70s the structure of the whole city changed and the car was introduced as the main mean of transportation. Part of those changes was the construction of the North-south axis which divided the square into two parts. On the site further construction work was completed and created the basic form and elements of today’s Ebertplatz: an interplay of brutalist architecture, a fountain and seven shops in an underground passage. The site presents a great complexity where different routing directions come together and different levels coexist. In addition, various groups of people are users of the square and this can be the key factor for the transformation of the square since it is perceived as a strong connection point.

Ebertplatz is at the moment a neglected public space, however it has a great potential. The underground passages are not functioning properly and the area attracts drug addicts and dealers. After 2017, the city is implementing a program for the revitalization of the square. At the same time, artists who are based on the square and citizens from the neighborhood are participating in events, activities and exhibitions. The question that arises is: Are these actions sufficient? How could a new design improve the quality of this public space and make it function as a place where various communities are coming together?

You can find the full document here

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