Gerling Area Cologne
1st Prize Urban planning competition / subsequent planning commission
2016 Special Prize of the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building & Urban Development for Gerling Tower
The Gerling Area forms its own cosmos within the city centre of Cologne. Not completed, but also not inviting, the various buildings of the former insurance headquarters primarily fulfilled the duties of representation and remained intact for decades, inside and outside.
With the move of the Gerling Group, the area has been converted into a residential and business district in the city center and then re-compacted. October 2011 marked the beginning of the transformation.
For the elaboration of the individual buildings, five design practices were selected by the Client for further processing. In addition to the master planning and design of the central piazza, RhineScheme’s German partner office ksg was also responsible for the realization of the newly built ‘Gatehouse’, the Gerling Tower and the Friedrich Wilhelm Building.
For the Gerling Area and its change of use into a residential and commercial district, the central ‘Gereonshof’ (Gery’s Court) is the most important part in the vision of a new urban quarter. As the centerpiece of the entire ensemble, it was formerly exclusively for representative purposes and was hardly animated by the surrounding office space and the thoroughfare. The owner and architect recognized in the untapped potential of this place the dormant urban quality as the core of the new location.
The idea was to create a Mediterranean, lively square modeled after the “Piazza Navona” in Rome, thus giving back the ensemble to the city: A public square with shops, outdoor catering and a center-oriented living space. With the development of a gatehouse on the western side and the blocking of the passage character, the piazza character should be further strengthened.
“As simple and natural as it sounds, it was a special achievement of the project development to realize the conversion of the office-to-residential structures. This included a sensitive planning integration of additional buildings and additional storeys,” explains master planner Johannes Kister.
The completed Gerling site offers 130,000 square meters of high-quality residential and office space in a prime downtown location.