Culture and Community Center, Blankenberg (DE)

Urban Planning & Organization
The medieval town of Blankenberg with its picturesque alleys, pretty half-timbered houses and historic castle complex is visible from afar, high above the Sieg on a rocky spur. In order to keep this special place alive, the city is investing in a new cultural and local heritage building at the former location of the fire brigade opposite the historic city wall and the town centre.
On 12 July 2019, the jury of the “Ober dem Ufer” planning competition awarded the first prize to Dietrich | Untertrifaller’s design for a culture and local heritage building and the new fire station. The concept separates the different functions and divides them into several buildings, which are loosely arranged and remind of traditional village structures.
The multi-part community building houses the visitor center with exhibition space, café, shop, and multifunctional event hall as well as the archive of the local heritage museum. Each of these facilities is accommodated in its own “house”. The shifting of the lined up saddleback roof buildings creates a lively front that faces the “village square”.
The culture barn is situated on the square as an open structure, slightly twisted. The open single-room concept guarantees flexible year-round use. The setting of the new buildings opens the view to the historical city wall, the old town and the parish church St. Katharina. At the same time, the newly created pedestrian bridge and the public road network will be integrated.
The stepped landscape design is inspired by an amphitheatre and invites visitors to sit and linger. It spatially completes the central square.
The new fire station consists of two buildings: the carriage hall and the functional wing, which is shifted by 90°. The L-shaped ensemble is located directly on the main road and shields the residential area from noise.
The open space concept interweaves the culture barn,the community building and the fire station to form an overall structure that communicates on all levels. An educational garden with beekeeping and old varieties of fruit or a green classroom invite for discovery.

Construction & Materiality
The community building is constructed in massive reinforced concrete. The durability and robustness of the construction is shown in a shell of demolition work on masonry in a stretched bond, which creates a homogeneous overall picture through a slurry surface. Inside, light glazed exposed concrete surfaces and freshly sawn oak floors contribute to a harmonious atmosphere. The culture barn is a hybrid construction consisting of a solid plinth and a lightweight wooden structure. The wooden construction and the open roof truss remain visible. In the case of the fire station, the components that come in contact with the ground are also designed in solid construction. The superimposed lightweight timber structure guarantees an economical realization of the large span of the carriage hall as well as a quick and precise construction process.

Client: Stadt Hennef
Location: D-53773 Stadt Blankenberg
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller
Project management: Johannes Krüger
Competition: 2019 / 1. prize
Capacity: community building: visitor center with exhibition space, café, shop, multifunctional event hall and archive; culture barn: Multipurpose hall for 150 people; fire station

Partner
building services: ZWP Ingenieur-AG, Wiesbaden / landscape: Faktorgruen, Freiburg