The German version: here.

"Nothing stays the way it was."
("Be open to innovation.")

"Kölsches Grundgesetz" or Cologne Constitution with 11 sayings ("op Kölsch") about life.

Whoever comes to Cologne for the first time sees a chaotic multiformity, through which a considerably wide river flows. The city’s puzzle-like face consists of vestiges of the Roman era, 1950s filigree, steel-and-glass towers, palatial residences with two-storey gables and this black colossus of a church that towers over everything, no matter your perspective as you toward the cathedral square. Forever and ever, amen. Cemented fast. Hardened. Immovable. Or so it was thought, since things were only built, adjusted, and expanded at and around this gothic giant.
In order to avoid the heart attack caused by this teeming architecture, I suggest that those arriving by train take the exit at the KölnMesse/Deutz station (those arriving by car who wish to evade the knotty mess that is Cologne traffic should also park here). Try it, because then this place becomes an urban-Rhine landscape painting. After you have gotten a feeling for how tremendously large the exhibition centre property is, have headed past the KölnTriangle, and are standing at the Kaiser Wilhelm equestrian statue, an adjective most unusual for Cologne may come to mind—beautiful! (With an exclamation point.) To keep this sense of goodwill afloat, continue with the M&M tour (Messe & MediaPark tour). This tour consists in part of the Via Culturalis, the spiritual-cultural-political heart of things, and more so of the Via Sacra, the large ring route at the edge of Cologne’s old city, which gives the visitor a sense of how Cologne acted as a medieval metropolis. The M&M tour starts with the Koelnmesse and ends at the MediaPark; it is not always the prettiest side of the fourth-largest city in Germany, but it is certainly one of the most exciting, from an architectural point of view. Guaranteed? No, there’s too much to see for that, the distractions are too great, the roaring too vibrant. Clusters are groups, accumulations, a swarm. The architectural agglomeration is enormous. For visitors, the XXL swarm on an XXS area has an advantage: in this dense cluster-city, one can be in the Roman era one moment and in the plans of the Koelnmesse 3.0 the next. In music, the word cluster stands for a sound structure whose tones lie close to one another. Cologne, you sound good.

Koelnmesse: Huge, Forthcoming Possibilities

KölnMesse/Deutz station.  Arrival and entrance gate to the exhibition centre. Among others the following trade fairs are held in Cologne: Anuga, Art Cologne, Photokina, Gamescom, Imm Cologne.
KölnMesse/Deutz station Arrival and entrance gate to the exhibition centre. Among others the following trade fairs are held in Cologne: Anuga, Art Cologne, Photokina, Gamescom, Imm Cologne. © Jan Dimog
Aerial view of the Koelnmesse.
Aerial view of the Koelnmesse © Koelnmesse GmbH
1960.  Aerial view of the exhibition grounds with hall 10 and indoor arena.
1960 Aerial view of the exhibition grounds with hall 10 and indoor arena. © Koelnmesse GmbH
Aerial view.  of the trade fair halls, called "Mr. Adenauer's stables"
Aerial view of the trade fair halls, called "Mr. Adenauer's stables" © Koelnmesse GmbH
Winning design by JSWD Architekten, Cologne.  Architects' competition for Koelnmesse 3.0, draft Entrance East
Winning design by JSWD Architekten, Cologne Architects' competition for Koelnmesse 3.0, draft Entrance East © JSWD Architekten
KölnTriangle.  is a 103.2 metres tall building in Deutz, and a prominent landmark in Cologne. The building was designed by Dörte Gatermann of Cologne-based architecture firm Gatermann + Schossig and completed in 2006.
KölnTriangle is a 103.2 metres tall building in Deutz, and a prominent landmark in Cologne. The building was designed by Dörte Gatermann of Cologne-based architecture firm Gatermann + Schossig and completed in 2006. © Jan Dimog

Rhine: Panorama and Urban Splendour

Cologne Cathedral.  German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus from the East with the Hohenzollernbrücke.
Cologne Cathedral German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus from the East with the Hohenzollernbrücke. © Jan Dimog
Wilhelm I..  Four equestrian statues of Prussian kings and German emperors of the Hohenzollern family flank each ramp. The Cathedral Bridge was already adorned with the statues of Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia by sculptor Gustav Blaeser and Kaiser Wilhelm I by Friedrich Drake.
Wilhelm I. Four equestrian statues of Prussian kings and German emperors of the Hohenzollern family flank each ramp. The Cathedral Bridge was already adorned with the statues of Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia by sculptor Gustav Blaeser and Kaiser Wilhelm I by Friedrich Drake. © Jan Dimog
Altstadt of Cologne.  Deutzer Brücke with the Cathedral (Dom), Cologne Tower (KölnTurm), town hall, WDR, TV tower Colonius.
Altstadt of Cologne Deutzer Brücke with the Cathedral (Dom), Cologne Tower (KölnTurm), town hall, WDR, TV tower Colonius. © Jan Dimog
Martinsviertel.  with Great St. Martin Church. Take the Hohenzollernbrücke from KölnMesse/Deutz station until Cologne Central Station, our next stop.
Martinsviertel with Great St. Martin Church. Take the Hohenzollernbrücke from KölnMesse/Deutz station until Cologne Central Station, our next stop. © Jan Dimog

Central Train Station: Arrivals and Departures

Cologne Central Station.  In September 1957, the new reception hall, built according to plans by architects Schmitt und Schneider, was opened. With its bowl-like roof structure and full-glass facade it presents itself as a transparent, seemingly filigree building.
Cologne Central Station In September 1957, the new reception hall, built according to plans by architects Schmitt und Schneider, was opened. With its bowl-like roof structure and full-glass facade it presents itself as a transparent, seemingly filigree building. © Jan Dimog
Cologne Central Station.
Cologne Central Station © Jan Dimog
Cologne Central Station.  shell-shaped roof ...
Cologne Central Station shell-shaped roof ... © Jan Dimog
Cologne Central Station.  ... to the design of the architects Schmitt and Schneider.
Cologne Central Station ... to the design of the architects Schmitt and Schneider. © Jan Dimog
New Construction of an Access Building to the South Tower, 2009.  Minimalist-cubist pavilion architecture at the cathedral.
New Construction of an Access Building to the South Tower, 2009 Minimalist-cubist pavilion architecture at the cathedral. © Jan Dimog
New Construction of an Access Building to the South Tower, 2009.  by the architect Kasper Krämer, Cologne.
New Construction of an Access Building to the South Tower, 2009 by the architect Kasper Krämer, Cologne. © Jan Dimog
Breslauer Platz, Completion of the New Design, 2013.  Designed by Büder + Metzel Architekten, Brühl/Cologne. Breslauer Platz is a square on the northeast side of the central train station. The transformation into an urban space took some time. The work done by Kai Büder and Manfred Metzel resulted in greater transparency and a clearly designed, public space with more room for pedestrians. Under each of the three column-supported pavilion roofs of the station, a weather-protected extension of the front plaza areas has arisen, as an entrance to the subway station and to the central train station.
Breslauer Platz, Completion of the New Design, 2013 Designed by Büder + Metzel Architekten, Brühl/Cologne. Breslauer Platz is a square on the northeast side of the central train station. The transformation into an urban space took some time. The work done by Kai Büder and Manfred Metzel resulted in greater transparency and a clearly designed, public space with more room for pedestrians. Under each of the three column-supported pavilion roofs of the station, a weather-protected extension of the front plaza areas has arisen, as an entrance to the subway station and to the central train station. © Hendrik Bohle
Breslauer Platz Station, 2011.  Designed by Büder + Mendel Architekten, Brühl/Cologne. The newly constructed urban square creates the entrée to the entrances of the central train station and the new underground rail station.
Breslauer Platz Station, 2011 Designed by Büder + Mendel Architekten, Brühl/Cologne. The newly constructed urban square creates the entrée to the entrances of the central train station and the new underground rail station. © Hendrik Bohle
Breslauer Platz Station, 2011.  The necessary connection of existing and new tracks created a train platform system, shifted lengthwise, with middle- and side platforms. The station is 225 metres long and 11.5 metres high. Daylight streams through the large openings of the entrances and the glass lift shafts.
Breslauer Platz Station, 2011 The necessary connection of existing and new tracks created a train platform system, shifted lengthwise, with middle- and side platforms. The station is 225 metres long and 11.5 metres high. Daylight streams through the large openings of the entrances and the glass lift shafts. © Hendrik Bohle
Breslauer Platz Station, 2011.  The distribution level consists of two galleries across from one another, from which the entire interior space is directly visible.
Breslauer Platz Station, 2011 The distribution level consists of two galleries across from one another, from which the entire interior space is directly visible. © Hendrik Bohle
Breslauer Platz Station, 2011.  Other features: the middle row of V-shaped supports, the glass lifts and escalators as well as both galleries with glass railings.
Breslauer Platz Station, 2011 Other features: the middle row of V-shaped supports, the glass lifts and escalators as well as both galleries with glass railings. © Hendrik Bohle

MediaPark: Multi and More Cologne

Aerial view of the MediaPark.  Formerly an abandoned freight station, now an architectonically exceptional multi-cluster location - the MediaPark has become Cologne’s outstanding urban development project of the 1990s.
Aerial view of the MediaPark Formerly an abandoned freight station, now an architectonically exceptional multi-cluster location - the MediaPark has become Cologne’s outstanding urban development project of the 1990s. © CC BY 2.0 Marco Verch
Cologne Tower.  It was set up to accommodate companies of the media and communication industry, as well as cultural institutions, a hotel and some apartment buildings. The MediaPark is situated in Neustadt-Nord, Cologne, on the site of a former goods station, and is some 20 hectare large. The photo shows the lake and the KölnTurm by Jean Nouvel.
Cologne Tower It was set up to accommodate companies of the media and communication industry, as well as cultural institutions, a hotel and some apartment buildings. The MediaPark is situated in Neustadt-Nord, Cologne, on the site of a former goods station, and is some 20 hectare large. The photo shows the lake and the KölnTurm by Jean Nouvel. © Hendrik Bohle
Cologne Tower.  The project was designed by Canadian architect Eberhard Zeidler, with construction lasting from 1990 until 2004. The buildings sit radially around a central square, and are surrounded by parks and a small lake. The city quarter's focal point is the 148 metre tall KölnTurm, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and completed in 2001.
Cologne Tower The project was designed by Canadian architect Eberhard Zeidler, with construction lasting from 1990 until 2004. The buildings sit radially around a central square, and are surrounded by parks and a small lake. The city quarter's focal point is the 148 metre tall KölnTurm, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and completed in 2001. © Hendrik Bohle
Cinedom, 1990/1991.  The glass rotunda of the multiplex cinema was designed by Zeidler Partnership Architects.
Cinedom, 1990/1991 The glass rotunda of the multiplex cinema was designed by Zeidler Partnership Architects. © Jan Dimog
Im MediaPark 5, 1994.  The architect Miroslav Volf, Cologne, arranged the ensemble with trapezoid-shaped block of buildings around a semicircular square.
Im MediaPark 5, 1994 The architect Miroslav Volf, Cologne, arranged the ensemble with trapezoid-shaped block of buildings around a semicircular square. © Jan Dimog
Im MediaPark 5, 1994.  Miroslav Volf
Im MediaPark 5, 1994 Miroslav Volf © Jan Dimog
Im MediaPark 4 - Forum, 2003.  Herman Hertzberger, Amsterdam. Instead of the perimeter block-form of the other slices, the design of the Forum divides the building into a quintet of segments grouped about a public courtyard.
Im MediaPark 4 - Forum, 2003 Herman Hertzberger, Amsterdam. Instead of the perimeter block-form of the other slices, the design of the Forum divides the building into a quintet of segments grouped about a public courtyard. © Jan Dimog
Im MediaPark 4 - Forum 2003.  While the inner walls, inward-curving arcs taken from a single circle, are entirely of glass, the outward-facing 'sections' are more muted. All sides are consequently front facades, while the interior courtyard rejoins the public realm.
Im MediaPark 4 - Forum 2003 While the inner walls, inward-curving arcs taken from a single circle, are entirely of glass, the outward-facing 'sections' are more muted. All sides are consequently front facades, while the interior courtyard rejoins the public realm. © Hendrik Bohle
Im MediaPark 6, 2001.
Im MediaPark 6, 2001 © Hendrik Bohle
Im MediaPark 6, 2001.
Im MediaPark 6, 2001 © Hendrik Bohle
Im MediaPark 6, 2001.
Im MediaPark 6, 2001 © Jan Dimog
Im MediaPark 6, 2001.
Im MediaPark 6, 2001 © Hendrik Bohle
Im MediaPark 10, 1996.  Steidle+Partner Architekten (now Steidle Architekten), Munich
Im MediaPark 10, 1996 Steidle+Partner Architekten (now Steidle Architekten), Munich © Hendrik Bohle
Im MediaPark 16 - Transformer station.  Architects: von Einsiedel, Cologne, Kraemer, Sieverts & Partner, Cologne
Im MediaPark 16 - Transformer station Architects: von Einsiedel, Cologne, Kraemer, Sieverts & Partner, Cologne © Hendrik Bohle
Im MediaPark 16 - Transformer station.  Characteristic of the building’s appearance are the three transformer exhaust air cowls, which are visible from afar and resolve the structure at the top.
Im MediaPark 16 - Transformer station Characteristic of the building’s appearance are the three transformer exhaust air cowls, which are visible from afar and resolve the structure at the top. © Jan Dimog
Pedestrian bridge.  connecting the MediaPark with the Herkulesberg, one of the 11 rubble mountains in Cologne.
Pedestrian bridge connecting the MediaPark with the Herkulesberg, one of the 11 rubble mountains in Cologne. © Jan Dimog
Pedestrian bridge.  to the Herkulesberg, opposite to the MediaPark playground.
Pedestrian bridge to the Herkulesberg, opposite to the MediaPark playground. © Jan Dimog
Ventilation.  Landscape architect Jürgen Schubert (Cologne) designed the MediaPark lake, park, pedestrian bridge and shoreline.
Ventilation Landscape architect Jürgen Schubert (Cologne) designed the MediaPark lake, park, pedestrian bridge and shoreline. © Jan Dimog
Cologne Tower.  Reinforced concrete building. The glass facade of was designed with reflected light in mind. Pictures of the Cologne Cathedral and the skyline of Cologne's Old Town were applied to the glass via screen-printing. Depending on light exposure, different combinations of these images appear on the building. Design architect:
Ateliers Jean Nouvel, associate architect: Georg Heckmann and Kohl und Kohl Architekten
Cologne Tower Reinforced concrete building. The glass facade of was designed with reflected light in mind. Pictures of the Cologne Cathedral and the skyline of Cologne's Old Town were applied to the glass via screen-printing. Depending on light exposure, different combinations of these images appear on the building. Design architect: Ateliers Jean Nouvel, associate architect: Georg Heckmann and Kohl und Kohl Architekten © Jan Dimog
Cologne and its sky.  Around 250 companies with 5,000 employees have settled in the MediaPark, 600 people live here, and additional 4.5 million visitors come to this urban quarter every year. The Messe and MediaPark tour comes with surprises and great views, like this one from the playground close to the pedestrian bridge to the Herkulesberg.
Cologne and its sky Around 250 companies with 5,000 employees have settled in the MediaPark, 600 people live here, and additional 4.5 million visitors come to this urban quarter every year. The Messe and MediaPark tour comes with surprises and great views, like this one from the playground close to the pedestrian bridge to the Herkulesberg. © Jan Dimog

"An especially striking example of a very early, pronouncedly large-format and largely successful urban service delivery."

Stefan Köhler, German National Library of Economics – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics on the MediaPark

Home and hotels

NH Collection Köln Mediapark.  Having spent the night in quite a few hotels for research, we recommend the NH Collection Köln MediaPark Hotel and the Hotel Chelsea. The former is part of the Cologne Tower complex by Jean Nouvel and a cool, sleek business hotel.
NH Collection Köln Mediapark Having spent the night in quite a few hotels for research, we recommend the NH Collection Köln MediaPark Hotel and the Hotel Chelsea. The former is part of the Cologne Tower complex by Jean Nouvel and a cool, sleek business hotel. © Hendrik Bohle
Hotel Chelsea.  One of our favourite accommodations in Cologne is the Hotel Chelsea, with its individual, charming character. On the top floor – built in deconstructivist architecture – most rooms have their own terrace, some rooms there are two-storied.
Hotel Chelsea One of our favourite accommodations in Cologne is the Hotel Chelsea, with its individual, charming character. On the top floor – built in deconstructivist architecture – most rooms have their own terrace, some rooms there are two-storied. © Jan Dimog
Hotel Chelsea.  is often called an art hotel. But foremost it is a house for guests, where everybody is welcome and where those who esteem a taste for the individual feel comfortable. Nevertheless, it is true, that for more than 30 years the Chelsea has been residence, indeed "home away from home" for many artists. The photo shows the French Superior room.
Hotel Chelsea is often called an art hotel. But foremost it is a house for guests, where everybody is welcome and where those who esteem a taste for the individual feel comfortable. Nevertheless, it is true, that for more than 30 years the Chelsea has been residence, indeed "home away from home" for many artists. The photo shows the French Superior room. © Jan Dimog
Hotel Chelsea.  Inside the unpretentious building from the 1960s.
Hotel Chelsea Inside the unpretentious building from the 1960s. © Jan Dimog
Hotel Chelsea.  with its individual, charming character and 39 rooms, including 4 suites.
Hotel Chelsea with its individual, charming character and 39 rooms, including 4 suites. © Jan Dimog

"We don’t know it, we don’t need it, moving on."
("Be critical if innovations get out of hand.")

"Kölsches Grundgesetz" or Cologne Constitution with 11 sayings ("op Kölsch") about life.

Von Jan Dimog Autor, Redakteur und (Foto)Journalist, veröffentlicht am .