previous stateBetween 1972 and 1978, the Herkulesstrasse became a section of the B9 federal motorway. This was due to the connection of the urban road network with the main motorway network. Technical reasons and the amount of traffic meant that the six lanes in the section between Wölherstrasse and the railway bridge (the Cologne-Aaachen line) remained completely sunken; from this point to Kanalstrasse the lanes were not as deep. The direct consequences of this for the 400 neighbours affected, were intolerable levels of noise pollution, even greater than the maximum levels permitted by the Ministry for Economy and Traffic of the State of the North Rhine-Westphalia. The other great problem caused by this roadway was the fact that it cut through the district, making it fragmented and segregating the residential zone in the west from the mixed area of shops and dwellings (located east of the site of the old abattoir).
aim of the interventionOn a small scale, the aim was to improve the habitability of the environment, and on a large scale, to ensure the creation of a green corridor towards the city centre. The following objectives also had to be met: protection from acoustic (noise) and pollutant (gases) emissions for residents living nearest to the road; the creation of a continuous green link from the outer green belt to the inner green belt via Blücher Park; the creation of a connection which would appeal to pedestrians and cyclists across Kanalstrasse (between Blücher Park and the inner green belt), and also from this point to the Mediapark; to guarantee accessibility for service roads and the improvement of the housing environment and the urban image of the affected area, particularly with regard to the road infrastructure.
descriptionThe building project was split into two sections. The first of these involved covering over the stretch of road from the Wölherstrasse to the railway bridge, and the second involved doing the same from this point to Kanalstrasse. In the first section, the motorway was deep enough and between 1990 and 1992 a landscaped top was built over it without any problems. By covering over the road the idea was to offer the residents a green area. In this case, in contrast to conventional green spaces placed on natural land, the aim was to landscape an already built element which had been artificially created.
The project envisaged a surface design with a very strict layout, in order to accentuate this artificiality. This was done by creating small squares supplemented by water pools, thus making the green area more attractive and providing an inviting space for people to relax and spend time in.
assessmentThe completion of this first section has significantly improved the urbanistic qualities of its environment, and high levels of noise pollution as well as the segregation of the district have been eliminated. Unfortunately, due to a number funding problems, the work on the second sector has not begun. We now consider it an urgent necessity to recommence the project in order to accomplish the ambitious general aims initially envisaged.
Albert García Espuche, architect