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Handelsblatt Home office encourages mediocrity

An interview with Christoph Ingenhoven
by Tanja Kewes and Thomas Tuma

He is one of the few contemporary German architects who has achieved international fame. Christoph Ingenhoven is not only the mastermind behind the controversial Stuttgart 21 railway station project, he is also one of the pioneers of sustainable construction. His latest project is opening in Düsseldorf: Kö-Bogen II. A shopping mall with over eight kilometres of hornbeam hedges, making it “Europe’s largest green facade”. (…)

Mr Ingenhoven, you will soon be opening Kö-Bögen II, which may very well be the country’s greenest shopping mall. Is this the future of downtown architecture?

Kö-Bogen II is not the only answer, but a good answer to the challenges of mankind, in terms of ecology and climate change. There are already too many people on our planet. And there will be considerably more to come. This also means that we are consuming far too many resources. We are already overdrawing our account. This means we have to take appropriate care in accommodating all these people.

What is your solution?

Big, dense cities. Humanity is currently experiencing the largest population shift in its history – from the countryside to the cities. This is increasing the pressure – not only on metropolises with their millions of inhabitants, but even on small municipalities in Germany.

Won’t the Covid-19 pandemic change that?

No, that can’t be changed at all.

Those who could afford it escaped the big cities during the lockdowns – at least that’s what happened in New York and Paris.

But that is the exception, enjoyed by a small elite. We don’t have enough space for the masses to each live in their own little house in the country. No, we need to empower cities to absorb even more people. What we need – and we already know this from Southeast Asia – are cities that are both dense and mixed. A metropolis like Houston in Texas consumes many times more resources and energy compared to much larger cities like Hong Kong. (…) Read more.