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INTERCHANGE + [Intermodal Node at Breslauer Platz]

Part 2 Project 2009
Corina Pitic
Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism Bucharest Romania
INTERCHANGE + aims at reconsidering the transportation hub. The terms it negotiates its presence are not only height, surroundings, scale and volume, but also demand information and statistical data, a coherent city masterplan, flow analysis, sustainability plugins and a deep understating of the urban mechanisms around such a complex programme. The notions that define this place are multi-functionality, layering of flows, the building as City-Gate, the need for easy orientation and for smart managing of the respective flows. Basically, this is what an intermodal node is all about as fresh, emerging architecture programme challenge. It needs inter-connectivity and inter-operability as sine qua non conditions for it to function accordingly (combinations of various types of transportation systems in one place and cross-border cooperation).
Breslauer Platz in Cologne city centre is such an intriguing site, having the river Rhine, the Main Train Station and the Cathedral as backdrop. INTERCHANGE + offers a strong transport infrastructure for the city centre, connecting by eco buses, by electric cars for rent, by bikes – tandems – scooters – motorcycles, the centre with its macro region. It stimulates the idea of using public transportation instead of the private one, and if private transportation is preferred, then electric and eco alternatives are also available (bikes, trycicles, tandems, electrical scooters for rent). On top of that, it offers business infrastructure for the City Hall of Cologne, as the plot is state-owned, and necessary adyacent programmes have been plugged into the node: office building, hotel, conference halls and an IT hub.
The programme is public par excellence, but the office building, the hotel and the conference halls can function as a permanent source of income for the city, through lending, concessioning and joint venture contracts with private businesses.
Having a firm infrastructure to connect to in the immediate proximity (regional, international and ICE high-speed trains, bus terminals, U-bahn stations, autoways, bike lanes, ferry stations, airport link ), benefitting from a central location with tourist venues and being adequately sized according to local needs and transport statistics, INTERCHANGE + is not only a beacon for the city of Cologne, but a necessary intervention too.

Corina Pitic

The project presented by the student questions contemporary issues related to transportation, such as the relation between public and private types of transportation, the sustainabiliy of transport nowadays, the relation of large transportation hubs with their urban environment and the need to reconsider all of the above in the context of global networks.
The project has a definite infrastructure basis for transportation and successfully manages to include adyacent programmes that function coherently within the same ‘building’. These lateral programmes are much needed in a place where the direction is changed, where decisions are made, where one comes and the other leaves, where one passes and the other stays, in other words, in places that commute, that switch from one mode to the other. The switch does not have to be intercepted, the journey having to be seamless and as smooth as possible. The intermodal node needs to provide the traveller with as many commodities as it can, according to his or her intentions.
INTERCHANGE + is that project that makes a successful attempt at taking all of the variables into account, analyzing them, adjusting them and placing them accordingly into a scheme that proves both a conscious act and a profound approach to a specific issue.


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