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12th International Spring Academy

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How can inner-city department stores and their surroundings be revitalized through alternative concepts? Around 60 students from TU Dortmund University and three other European universities addressed this question at the 12th International Spring Academy. They presented their designs on Wednesday, March 20, at the Baukunstarchiv NRW.

At the spring academy, the architecture students looked at three planned areas in Dortmund's city center. These were the area around St. Petri church with the former Kaufhof building, the central area with the Mayersche and Karstadt bookstore buildings and the area around St. Reinoldi and St. Marien churches with the P&C and C&A buildings. The twelve inter-university teams had ten days to develop their ideas for the large-volume buildings on Westenhellweg and Ostenhellweg. This year, students from TU Dortmund University, FH Potsdam, TU Eindhoven and Ghent University took part and contributed their different perspectives to the teamwork. They were accompanied by lecturers from the four universities as well as the University of Naples Federico II and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

"The topic is highly relevant not only in Dortmund, but in all European city centers," says Associate Professor Olaf Schmidt, who is leading the spring academy together with Associate Professor Michael Schwarz. For a long time, department stores dominated the inner-city scene. In recent years, however, there have been increasing reports of closures and vacancies, which have had an impact on the entire city center. Michael Schwarz explains: "The students have intensively analyzed the situation in Dortmund's city center and identified problems. On this basis, they have developed alternative concepts to break up the monofunctionality of the buildings and to integrate the buildings into the city with changed uses and a generally new appearance, redefining them in parts."