The new Koelnmesse is taking shape

Architects' competition for Koelnmesse 3.0: The jury has reached a decision

The Koelnmesse 3.0 project reached an important interim milestone before Christmas. At the jury meeting held on 22 December 2015, the seven remaining drafts and bids in the current architects' competition were evaluated. The drafts and bids concerned the CONFEX® Hall, Hall 1plus, the new central terminal in the southern section of the exhibition grounds, and the design of the façade. "We've selected our favourites. The new Koelnmesse is taking shape," said Gerald Böse, Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse. The biggest investment programme in the company's history calls for investments totalling more than ¤600 million to be made by 2030. These funds will come from Koelnmesse's own financial resources

The jurors were especially impressed by the drafts submitted by two firms: ingenhoven architects from Düsseldorf and JSWD Architekten from Cologne. "Both of these proposals are characterized by clear, well-organized structures of the kind that exhibitors and visitors need for efficient trade fair participation," said Koelnmesse CEO Gerald Böse after a jury meeting lasting several hours. "In addition, the drafts have been expertly integrated into the existing structure of our exhibition grounds. And in spite of all their functionality, they also have a structural dimension that should help us reach our goal of making our exhibition grounds in Cologne the most attractive city-centre trade fair complex in the world."

"These are the priorities we have set for ourselves," Böse continued. "Now we will take a very close look at our preferred drafts to see how practical and affordable they are, so that we can announce the final winner in early 2016. At that point we will really know what our exhibition grounds will look like in the future."

In order to solve the planning issues connected with the project, Koelnmesse had decided to conduct a competition for architects in two processing phases. In the first phase, 20 architectural firms were selected from a total of 81 submissions and asked to work out their proposals for appropriate solutions of the planning issues. A total of 19 architectural firms eventually submitted their work for evaluation. An independent jury selected seven promising concepts for further processing in the second phase of the competition. The milestone of the competition was the jury meeting on 22 December 2015, when the jury selected its favourites from among the submitted drafts. The competition process began in May 2015 and lasted for seven months. The final winner of the competition will be announced in early 2016.

The jury published the following statements to explain its selection of the two drafts:

ingenhoven architects
This draft rounds out its strong presentation with a generously proportioned roof at the new Entrance East and thus symbolically gives Koelnmesse a new structural dimension. Within the terminal, the draft creates an interior space with a high degree of transparency and striking funnel-shaped structures - a space that leads one to expect an excellent quality of stay. By contrast, the design of the CONFEX® Hall with its entrance area to Trade Fair City is restrained. In its simplicity, it forms an appropriate closure of the urban space that is still being created here. The functions are clearly organized, and there are good connections between them.

JSWD Architects
This draft successfully uses a logical and clear organizational structure to effectively position the complex potential uses of the exhibition grounds. The terminal becomes the central element of the whole. In combination with the existing Boulevard, it creates a network of paths that divide the new Koelnmesse into clearly delineated areas. The CONFEX® Hall and Hall 1plus are very well integrated into the overall structure of Koelnmesse. The functionality of all the components is outstanding. The stretching-out of the terminal and the establishment of its own Entrance West make it possible to use the CONFEX® Hall, Hall 1plus and the terminal independently of one another. It also makes it possible to integrate the existing halls very flexibly into the route around the exhibition grounds and to offer a variety of trade fair formats. The connection of CONFEX® and Hall 1plus with the terminal at various different levels is an intelligent solution. The CONFEX® Hall has an appropriately low-key connection with Trade Fair City by means of a free-standing staircase and a well-proportioned foyer. The Entrance East shares the architectural vocabulary of the other entrances and continues it with a generously proportioned, voluminous overhang. The materials have been aptly chosen, and they form a clear connection between the existing structures and the new ones. This results in a very homogeneous overall image and a very logical expansion of the exhibition grounds.

The Jury
The jury of this competition consists of high-calibre architects, representatives of the various parties in Cologne's City Council, the responsible municipal official, and representatives of Koelnmesse. The chairman of the jury is the Cologne architect Kaspar Kraemer.

  • 1. Prof. Manfred Hegger, Kassel, architect

  • 2. Kaspar Kraemer, Cologne, architect, Chairman of the jury meeting

  • 3. Prof. Manfred Ortner, Berlin, architect

  • 4. Jürgen Minkus, Cologne, architect

  • 5. Franz-Josef Höing, Alderman of the City of Cologne

  • 6. Gerald Böse, Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH

  • 7. Herbert Marner, Chief Financial Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH

  • 8. Dr. Georg Klumpe, Vice President Infrastructure of Koelnmesse GmbH

  • 9. Niklas Kienitz, CDU faction

  • 10. Rafael Struwe, SPD faction

  • 11. Kirsten Jahn, Die Grünen faction

  • 12. Ralph Sterck, FDP faction

  • 13. Michael Weisenstein, Die Linke faction

The Koelnmesse 3.0 investment Programme
Koelnmesse 3.0 is a modernization programme that will be completed in three phases ending in 2030. It will particularly affect the Southern Halls and the traffic and parking situation, and it will create more attractive halls and better traffic routes. The plan also includes a new Hall 1plus, which will offer 10,000 m² of additional exhibition space to make up for the constraints caused by temporary construction measures; a CONFEX® Hall for new formats that combine a conference and an exhibition; and a new entrance terminal for the Southern Halls that will act as a modern and functional boulevard that connects and leads into the eastern and western parts of the exhibition grounds. The Supervisory Board has already approved an investment volume of more than ¤200 million for the first phase, which will last until 2020.

All of the photographs for this press release can be viewed in the Koelnmesse image database:



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