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High Street Alive

Placing vibrant spaces inside former city centre magnets

aac Workshop, Hamburg, Germany
06.09 to 29.09.2023 at the Campus Rainvilleterrasse in Hamburg

- or what will happen to the giants of the inner cities?

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Description of Workshop Topic

The quality of cohabitation in our city centres will determine their future attractiveness and vitality.
Traditional department stores in prime locations, such as Mönckebergstrasse in Hamburg, are gradually being closed down for lack of commercial prospects; shopping malls and flagship stores started this process back in the 1990s, and Corona and online retailing have accelerated it. As a result, not only is a large part of the diverse range of goods available in city centres disappearing, but also the magnetic effect that strategically located department stores used to have in revitalising city centres.
These giants, with their enormous depths, require creative and unusual approaches to their conversion, as well as in some cases a departure from and a rethinking of the usual use scenarios that break up the usual inner city monoculture of office and shopping. A new mix of uses, including housing and event venues, could make tomorrow's city centres attractive, lively and communicative places again.

Neither building in the existing fabric nor the conversion of historic buildings are new themes for architecture. They are as much a part of everyday business as the associated re-coding of building typologies.
Until the 19th century, conversion was a natural part of building, as buildings, with their materials and the man-hours spent on them, were regarded as a valuable resource.

It was only with the advent of industrialisation and the concomitant development of industrialised production methods that the now immense demand for new workplaces, living spaces and production facilities could be created at a previously unimaginable rate. In addition, globalisation and faster transport routes facilitated access to materials and labour. There seemed to be no end to faster, higher, further.

Now the climate crisis is demanding a rethink. A good third of a building's greenhouse gas emissions occur before it is actually used - during its manufacture and construction [1].

The value of the building as a material and resource is increasing, and "urban mining" as a potential solution to reduce embodied energy is presenting architects with new challenges:
How do we want to maintain a high level of quality in the design of our built environment in the future?

During the aac autumn workshop, prototypical solutions for the conversion of large-format department stores in inner-city locations were developed by elaborating and designing scenarios for joint use of the selected department store "Galeria an der Mönckebergstraße". With the focus on a qualitative coexistence of all users in a mix of residential, office and commercial uses, but also public facilities and gastronomy for the location, the aim was to revitalise the area around the clock and to achieve an attractiv

Description of Workshop Format

During the three-and-a-half-week aac workshop, international groups of four students worked closely together to develop project contributions on the topic.

Supported by personal tutors and under the guidance of a gmp partner, the designs were further developed in discussion rounds with renowned guest architects. Topic-specific experts complemented the programme with lectures and reports on their experiences.

A scholarship was available for all participants, which covered the tuition fees for the course including all working materials. Free accommodation in Hamburg for the duration of the workshop was also on offer.

The aac studios with spectacular views over Hamburg harbour were equipped with individual computers, software licences and workshop materials.

The aac workshop for architecture students in their Bachelor's or Master's degree, as well as young graduates, took place during the lecture-free period from 06 September – 29 September 2023.

The workshop results were presented by the participants in an exhibition.

Chairmanship: This workshop was under the guidance of Dipl.-Ing. Architekt Stephan Schütz und Dipl.-Ing. Architekt Nikolaus Goetze mit Dipl.-Ing. Architekt Nicolas Pomränke.

Participants: Isil Alimoglu, Fabian Alster, Andrés Santiago Navor Blanco, Alexander Blumentritt, Selma Gulden, Karyna Al Iafi, Lucia Ieroianni, Anna-Christin Kaiser, Yiran Liu, Jana Lohr, Nancy Margaret Marshall Marrs, Christian Ferreira de Oliveira, Álvaro Pozo Pérez, Ekaterina Pestriakova, Ebrahim Rahmani, Saverio Simoncini

Tutors: Fabian Faerber, Walter Gebhardt, Prof. Philipp Kamps, Sona Kazemi, Anja Meding
Visiting Professors and Experts: Annekathrin Bake, Prof. Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Prof. Petra Riegler-Floors, Caroline Nachtigall-Marten, Nicolas Pomränke, Jan Stolte, Guido Roth

[1] www.dgnb.de/de/aktuell/pressemitteilungen/2021/studie-co2-emissionen-bauwerke