Around 20 architecture students from Cologne University of Applied Sciences met in March this year for a project development course at CUBITY of the Britta and Ulrich Findeisen Foundation for Art and Architecture. Over the course of five days, the students developed concepts for the structural transformation and revitalization of the Rhenish mining district for the “Project Development 1” module. In addition to the independent project development, which was also graded, the students received support from various guest speakers who came to CUBITY for their presentations.

Intensive Workshop Students TH Köln Cubity Merzenich

© Sharon Nathan, Britta and Ulrich Findeisen Foundation for Art and Architecture, 2024

Projects Analyze the Potential of the Rhenish Mining Area

In addition to the participants’ own project developments and the guest lectures, the program also included a tour of Merzenich. The project development course was led by Professor Fabian Storch from TH Köln. During the five days at CUBITY, the students developed five innovative projects whose concepts and models analyse the potential of the region and present solutions for the revitalization and strengthening of Merzenich and Bürgewald (Morschenich-Alt).

Concepts Students Cubity

© Sharon Nathan, Britta and Ulrich Findeisen Foundation for Art and Architecture, 2024

Project Presentation “Strong Center Merzenich”

The team led by Antonia Fischer, Sutharsini Tharmarajah and Sarah Schindelar focused on the development of a mixed-use project in the center of Merzenich. Their “Strong Center Merzenich” concept aims to revitalize the town center with a combination of residential, office, retail and commercial space.

Key Data of the Project:

Plot size: 1,085 m²
Usable space: Residential 1,426 m², commercial 349 m², office/retail 353 m², education 353 m²
Return on investment: Total return on investment 4.95%, return on equity 17.44%
Transport connections: Good connections to Düren and Cologne, both by bus and S-Bahn

The project emphasizes the importance of a social and functional mix in order to promote lively and diverse urban development. Smaller rental apartments are intended to appeal to a broad section of the population, which contributes to a dynamic community.

Project Presentation “Revitalization of Morschenich”

Zine Kaya, Saliha Bozkurt and Tom Kosmowski developed the concept “Revitalizing Morschenich – Life instead of vacancy”. The main aim of this project is to revitalize vacant buildings in Morschenich through a mixture of residential, commercial and community use.

Key Data of the Project:

Plot size: 18,287 m²
Construction and ancillary costs: € 31,233,091
Usable space: residential 7,150 m², commercial 1,857 m², daycare center 1,607 m², communal areas 1,550 m²
Financing: Combination of equity and debt capital with a total return on capital of 3.67% p.a.

This project focuses on the creation of jobs through commercial units and the provision of housing to encourage the influx of new residents. In addition, the existing infrastructure will be used and renewable energies integrated in order to minimize the ecological footprint.

Presentation of the “Campus Connect” Project in Kerpen-Buir”

Annika Fehr, Jule Rosenbaum and Mahmud Mohammed presented the “Campus Connect” in Buir, Kerpen. This bioscience campus is intended to serve as a platform for research and training in the field of ecological change.

Key Data of the Project:

Plot size: 33,041 m²
Usable area: Total 38,425 m², of which laboratory and research areas 8,325 m², student accommodation 6,750 m², daycare center 1,200 m², canteen 1,000 m²

The campus will not only house state-of-the-art laboratories and research facilities, but will also promote partnerships with businesses and the local community to support sustainable development.

Project Presentation “Agri-PV and Urban Farming in the Rhenish Mining Area”

Lisa Küper, Anna von Homeyer and Lilly Obermeyer focused on an innovative urban farming project in the Rhineland region that combines renewable energy sources and agriculture.

Key Data of the Project:

Prototype: 150 m² agri-PV system that maximizes both solar energy and agricultural yields
Possible crops: fruit, berries and fruit vegetables
Goals: Sustainable agriculture and use of existing fertile soils in the Rhenish mining area

This project combines economic returns through rental income or sale with ecological use of the agriculturally productive land. The integration of research, office space and living space is intended to create a variety of possible uses.

Cubity Atelier House Lighting

© Sharon Nathan, Britta and Ulrich Findeisen Foundation for Art and Architecture, 2024

The students’ projects impressively demonstrate how creativity and sustainability can go hand in hand to develop future-proof solutions for regional challenges. The CUBITY Atelier House offers the ideal platform for this and promotes interdisciplinary exchange and the practical implementation of innovative ideas. However, students only gain a realistic picture of the practical risks and opportunities that are available to them through concrete on-site discussions and direct contact with the building.