Koblenz (Germany), throughout its long history, has always been a fortified town with a strong military presence. From the roman founding on is was fortificated during different eras. After WW II is was one of the biggest garrison town in Germany. In this context Koblenz was hit hard by the changes after the fall of the iron curtain. Since then more and more military location were given up.
Project area description / In the 19th century the city of Koblenz was fortificated by the Prussians. This defensive system of high historical and monumental value is now reason for difficulties in context of enhancement and maintenance of the old buildings. The Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, the largest one, is owned by the state. Because of continues investments in the past, the condition of the fort is very good. It’s a touristic highlight, with museums, gastronomy and education activities. The other fortresses are owned by the city. But due to financial priorities for other projects, the buildings are in bad condition. Some cultural, local initiatives focus at the maintenance and enhancement of specific parts of the Fortress in Koblenz. The Prussian Fortress is the reason, why Koblenz became part of the UNESCO world heritage list “Upper Middle-Rhine-Valley” in 2002. Fort Asterstein is the inner building of a Prussian fortress, which was built in 1820. Until 1970 it was used for housing. In 1996 a citizen initiative started, which cared for the fort. Today the social organisation “AWO” uses the Fort and among others, hosts a summer camp for students (mainly primary school) at the Fort, which is located at the suburbs of Koblenz. The heritage is also used for special events like music festivals. The fort plays a prominent role in the short term reuse of heritage in our city. The gipsy district “Lower Asterstein” is close to the Fort, which is important in the big picture and long term development.
Project area challenge / The challneges today can be divided into three main challenges: the reuse of Prussian ruins, the reuse of modern barracks and the continuation of the usage of military administrative buildings. The challenges are also chances for Koblenz. To keep the history of the city alive, protect historical buildings, bring life and culture into former military environment and find sustainable solutions for the future. As for the Fort Asterstein the idea of the project is the transformation of the former military heritage to a new social urban hub, which can be used by everyone.
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