Six special features at Kö-Bogen II and Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz


Six special features at Kö-Bogen II and Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz

After extensive redevelopment, the area in the middle of the city center offers architectural and cultural highlights

Good things come to those who wait: For almost 30 years, since 1992, the city of Düsseldorf and architect Christoph Ingenhoven have been pondering the redesign of the area around Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz. Goodbye, elevated road "Tausendfüßler" with endless traffic, welcome, sustainable building that allows pedestrians* and cyclists an environmentally friendly shopping and leisure experience in the direct vicinity of the Schauspiel- and Dreischeibenhaus. The construction work, including the Wehrhahnlinie, lasted from 2009 to 2020. Since then, locals and visitors alike have been delighted with an outstanding project that is attracting worldwide attention - and perhaps you too will be captivated!?

Open-air stage at the Schauspielhaus

Shakespeare would surely be enraptured if he were still able to visit Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz at dusk on a - shall we say - balmy June day. After all, the place proves to be the perfect backdrop for summer night dreams come true - namely when the Schauspielhaus invites to performances on its open-air stage! Then, in front of up to 400 spectators, Nibelung Alberich and the gods from Valhalla, for example, dash through the scenery. Or a huge pack of mice spreads out at breakneck speed to invite the young audience on adventures of the "exceedingly strong Willibald". With the open-air theater festival, the actors, dancers and singers on Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz even opened the 2021/22 season. In the late hours of the day, projections in sign language can also be followed on the open-air stage.

Green Architecture Kö-Bogen II

It grows up to 40 centimeters in twelve months, its wood has a whitish-greyish appearance - and it likes to keep people in the dark about its age, because annual rings can hardly be seen: the hornbeam. This tree has a huge impact on the appearance of Kö-Bogen II. After all, architect Christoph Ingenhoven had a total of 30,000 representatives of the native species "transplanted" in 3,500 troughs as an environmentally friendly facade - and thus set a record. Designed with a sloping roof, the building, which houses offices and retail stores facing Schadowstrasse, is considered the greenest in Europe! The idea: the hornbeams provide an improved climate by, among other things, storing moisture and binding carbon dioxide. The ecological benefit of the shrubs is equivalent to that of around 80 fully grown deciduous trees, Ingenhoven let it be known. This also convinced the juries of numerous national and international architectural competitions, which awarded the entire complex many prizes.

Restaurant in the playhouse 

A dramatic scene full of fear and despair, with the audience holding its breath - and your stomach growling so loudly that the whole theater hears it? You can easily avoid that with a visit to the Schillings restaurant. Located in the same building, you can enjoy your meal here from Tuesday to Sunday at almost any time of day. Whether it's lunch between 12:30 and 2 p.m., coffee in the afternoon or dinner between 5 and 10:30 p.m.. Because of specialties such as truffle fries, Argentine red shrimp, cod on a lemon crust or ox cheeks braised in Altbier, no one goes home hungry - or, as mentioned, "next door" to the next show. Appropriately, in addition to a large wine list, the "theater platter" awaits you with a selection of cheese and ham as well as tomato jam and grilled vegetables. Dramatically good!

A home for the skater scene 

Ice hockey, football and - skating? In Düsseldorf, the scene is so popular that a special event called "Skate Weekend" attracts fans of the sport from far away. The Kö-Bogen II area is also once again thrilling, after a skate park attracted young Düsseldorfers* here many years ago. Not least thanks to its roller-friendly, particularly smooth mastic asphalt and the deliberately skate-friendly elements such as ramp-like edging of the beds, the area in front of the Schauspielhaus serves as the perfect backdrop for kick-flips, slides and ollies that outsiders can only marvel at. Boarders and BMX riders also regularly meet in the shadow of the Dreischeibenhaus, on the other side of the streetcar tracks, to roll over concrete benches with the help of ramps. 

Quick in the green  

Fortunately, Düsseldorf has many green spaces. But only a few can claim to be the "first park on the square. In the case of the Hofgarten, this is literally true, as it borders directly on Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz. Anyone who wants to stretch their feet after a shopping spree, during their lunch break or after a visit to the Schauspielhaus will find the best opportunity to do so on the spot - and to encounter more than one highlight in the process. To name just one selection: Only a few hundred meters away from Kö-Bogen II, walkers, inline skaters, cyclists or skateboard fans will encounter Henry Moore's bronze sculpture "Reclining Figure in Two Parts" from 1969, the "Meninas", i.e. the court ladies by Manolo Valdés after Velázquez, or the light benches designed by artist Stefan Sous. They adorn both sides of the Jägerhof avenue.

Up high 

How many cities can you think of off the top of your head where you can climb onto rooftops without provoking a large-scale operation by the police and fire department? No problem at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz! At the market hall, also designed by architect Christoph Ingenhoven, which tapers to a point, where a restaurant welcomes burger fans and a supermarket and drugstore chain sit, you'll take a look at the city from a whole new perspective. Only opening in October 2021, the walkable lawn of the building belonging to Kö-Bogen II invites you to unwind in the middle of the big city. All you need is a picnic blanket, cold drink and cake, and your happiness is complete.

Cover image: © ingenhoven architects HGEsch

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