Master’s thesis Winter 2020/21

Published by the Institute of Design and Urban Development (Prof. Dr. Annette Rudolph-Cleff).

Bochum is great! A large number of high-quality buildings from the 1950s and 1960s with their simultaneously subtle and restrained facades stand in an apparently tolerant style next to newer architecture, in some cases also sins of the following decades.

The hodgepodge in the center of this large city in the middle of the Ruhr area between Essen and Dortmund appears as an urban configuration strangely harmonious and surprisingly balanced in all its contradictions.

In a central location between the main train station, the Schauspielhaus, the Union-Kino and the pedestrian zone, probably the best-known pub district in the Ruhr area has emerged, with small and large events. The Bermuda3E is already a widely visible hot spot of live culture. The question of the further development of the Bermuda3E now arises not only in the context of the thematic areas of the ISEK, but also in the question of the post-pandemic city.

The task deals with that very Bermuda3Eck (i.F. B3E), B3E asks for design solutions for the neighborhood, which bundle existing project ideas, already identified fields of action and especially perspectives of a post-pandemic live culture in an urban vision.

Orientation is provided by the guiding principles that have been developed for Bochum 2030. The “Strategy 2030” and “Bochum 2030 – Vision Innenstadt” describe target images and focal points that can serve as guidelines for future activities. The strategic goals leave a great deal of openness for discussion with the citizenry and the development of future core activities.

The coexistence of high culture and everyday culture as well as institutionalized culture and the independent scene is understood as an inspiration and identification in the city: The lively cultural scene and its initiatives are to be used to strengthen the cultural space for creative people. The goal of opening up not only creative milieus and places but also virtual spaces in the course of digitalization is emphasized in Strategy 2030.

For the Bermuda3Eck, the themes of the “city of productive knowledge” and “networked city life” are the focus of Bochum 2030 – Vision Innenstadt.


Bochum's inner city district – the Bermuda 3Eck – at the southern tip of the city center is a pub district known throughout the region. Consequently, gastronomic use is predominant on the first floors. One of the special features of the quarter is that most of the businesses are owner-operated. With more than 60 catering establishments and 7,000 seats both indoors and outdoors, the neighborhood has about 4,000 visitors a year.

Other commercial players include retail and service businesses, followed by a smattering of cultural and social institutions. Accordingly, the neighborhood's focus is on the leisure- and consumption-related nighttime economy. The cultural offer and the neighborhood management, lean on the measures of the Business Improvement District.

The building structures are characterized by the time of the 50/60s and show a simple, but at the same time colorful variety of facades. The roof forms are a mixture of gable and flat roofs. The small-scale development structure features several gaps between buildings that open up to one- to two-story niches in the streetscape. The facades and underpasses are used for street art, which is an integral part of the neighborhood.

The current predominant monofunctional use determines or limits the hours and types of activities in the neighborhood.


To make a city sustainable, it is imperative – to respond to the diversity of its residents. An understanding of the basic values, such as participation, responsibility, nature conservation, tolerance and last but not least creativity, should be given a high degree of attention. In my view, urban spaces are to be designed with these values in mind, both in the dense built context and in the design of open and green spaces. It is about accessibility and social participation in spaces that are formative for our coexistence and culture.

“A culture is said to be a system in which certain variables influence each other, which can be grouped together for purposes of analysis in the form of subsystems (bios, personality, ideology, aesthetics, social structure, techno-economics, environment).”

T. Bargatzky (1889)

Through the integration of new offers – which strengthen the area of culture, here especially chosen from the area of art – a quarter is created which can be lived and experienced from morning to evening. Following on from the existing cultural offerings, which focus on film and music, the space program is supplemented for visual, performing and literary art genres. The newly created rooms can be used multifunctionally. They will be available to professionals, adolescents and amateurs at a workshop, as well as for joint use by catering businesses for the expansion of events and functions.

Concept Culture

The concept “Showcase for Participation” intends to make art tangible as a parameter of participation as well as diversity in the urban fabric. The art comes to the public and thus creates more contemplation and experience in the urban context. The newly created spaces should correspond to the structural typologies of the arts (studio, hall, studio), present themselves to the urban space in an open, representative, transparent way and make the productivity and development of the participants perceptible and above all invite them to participate.

Workshop – is in this concept a new definition for participation. The creatives – create events and let young and old participate in music, dance, film, painting and sculpture as well as literature. Here is to be tested, practiced and developed on their own abilities and possibilities. Following on from the open and publicly accessible interior space, places are to be defined and made accessible in the outdoor area, which will allow activities to be shifted into the open space and offer additional exhibition areas. The street becomes a canvas and gallery, a studio and laboratory. In addition to the strongly represented street art scene in the neighborhood and surrounding area, local cultural work can be done here through productivity and performance on the contemporary visual language and expression of a city.

Especially now in the hard time of the pandemic, we as a society make an experience that gives us the chance to rethink the social structures in some subareas and to redevelop the related urban spaces in their organization and planning.

Through a multiple use of the spaces, they will be available not only to the creative scene but also to emerging start-up companies and urban events. The flexibly usable spaces offer the possibility for temporary actions and permanent uses. In the urban context, the quarter opens up places for cooperation and exchange with the neighborhoods in Bochum, which can use the spaces and equipment here. This includes in particular the music forum with the integrated church choir.

Greening concept

The second goal is the reactivation of green spaces. Urban green structures are essential in terms of the urban climate and air quality in the urban environment. In addition to providing effective health care, they make the residential environment more attractive and create spaces for encounters and participation. The existing sealed street spaces as well as the heavily sealed courtyards still represent a gray and hostile environment. Considering today's pandemic challenges, the hospitality and event industry is challenged to design new concepts. One obvious measure to strengthen the existing hospitality industry is to gently clear the sealed courtyard structures. The stakeholders are invited to participate in the opening and greening of the courtyards in terms of hygiene and ecology.

Retreat areas are to be created for residents and, with restrictions, also for restaurants. In order to prevent additional noise pollution for the neighborhood, an appropriate level for the expansion of gastronomy is to be explored.

The existing gray flat roof areas are to be provided with extensive and also intensive roof greening, are to be designed into green terraces and attractive outdoor spaces and thus carry on the concept of participation and sharing in the interior of the neighborhood to the exterior.

Traffic concept

The existing development structure is subject to the zeitgeist of the 50/60s, a car-oriented city. A four-lane north-south connection and an east-west side street cross the neighborhood and prioritize automobile traffic in their design. The parking situation along the streets overlaps with the sidewalks, creating a barrier between streets and sidewalks. Since parked cars occupy the public street space indefinitely, multifunctional use is prevented.

In order to strengthen the intervention of culture in the neighborhood, which needs more traffic-calmed street spaces, the existing east-west connection, in the form of a side street, is extended to the pedestrian area and restructured to a zone free of residents and cabs. Since the public street space is the interface of many planning levels and should provide space for all population groups to participate and stay, the need for the development of an assistance for politics and administration for the design of miserable street spaces is seen.

„The Right of centrality, as the access to the places of social wealth, urban infrastructure and knowledge; and the right to difference, which stands for a city as a place of meeting, of recognizing and acknowledging each other, and of debate […] It is not limited to the concrete use of urban spaces, but equally encompasses access to the political and strategic debates about the future paths of development. The right to the city is oriented towards the utopian promises of the urban and claims a right to the creative surpluses of the urban."

- Andrej Holm, Dirk Gebhardt: Initiatives for a Right to the City. Theory and practice of urban appropriation. Hamburg 2011

The “surpluses of the urban” are the core topic of this work. In order to generate them, actors need to be strengthened, structures of governance and decision-making need to be reformed, and spatial qualities need to be elaborated. The measures presented below ensure that – in times of Corona – a district can create the conditions to promote diversity of users and the democratization of uses. The space necessary for this is also ensured by reorganizing the parking infrastructures into the surrounding new construction projects. The necessary participation and legitimization will be made possible by a cooperative neighborhood management that integrates the city, locals, businesses, and cultural network.

Self-governance and neighborhood management: The ISG Bermuda3eck creates something unique in the center of Bochum and is the cornerstone of a self-governing neighborhood. Through its experience and networks, it acts as a catalyst for bottom-up urban development processes to involve all local stakeholders as well as a unique location factor for Bochum.

The parking garage as a third location: The commercial structure and the will to be different of the locals open up opportunities to turn the Bermuda3eck into an experiment of self-management on the neighborhood level. By making visible and giving space to artists and cultural workers who integrate themselves into a city-wide network of cultural venues, a counterweight to commercially active users is created. The resulting diversity and the obvious contrast make the neighborhood particularly attractive. For this purpose, the Bermuda3eck will become the heart of the newly forming, district-spanning cultural Caribbean. The public space from Konrad-Adenauer-Platz to Südring will become a playground for culture, art and nightlife. The parking garage in the Bermuda3eck will be transformed and create cost-efficient space for artists, craftsmen and packers in a prominent location. The outdated, large, monofunctional space of the parking garage is repaired and gives Bochum a unique place of identity from below. A neutral space around the rear ramp allows experimentation and recreation of the neighborhood and, if needed, additional space for cultural events. The public development of the fifth facade rounds off the transformation and already gives a hint of the special nature of the place from the tracks.

Empowering residents: The special structure of use, very much focused on the public, made it difficult to mirror the role of the residential neighborhood in the space. The alternative character of the neighborhood is made a virtue of in order to strengthen it. By adding new residential typologies with a focus on non-generic living, a focus is placed on the intertwining of living and creating in the neighborhood. The new open space in the back room creates room for retreat and chance encounters of the residential neighborhood. The opportunity for residents to participate in the back room is always open and part of the process of further developing the neighborhood.

Breaking down neighborhood boundaries: An interlocking through nature-related building blocks, so-called neighborhood ambassadors, into the adjacent neighborhoods, opens the neighborhood through the cultural network more strongly into the rest of Bochum. The edges are spatially reinforced and opened up to make it easier to jump over the busy streets.



The Bermuda3Eck in Bochum is a supra-regional flagship of (r)going out culture in the Ruhr area. Nevertheless, a reorientation is necessary due to the urban, cultural and social developments of the past years in order to define the future utilization profile of the Bermuda3Eck.

The multitude of cultural offerings in the immediate vicinity and the efforts to promote creative milieus in various visions for Bochum's inner city show the potential for action in the area of creative industries.

The approach of this work combines the unique selling proposition and the pulsating character of the Bermuda3Eck with the identity as a creative hotspot. An exciting, experimental coexistence of high and everyday culture as well as of existing cultural institutions and the independent scene promote the distinct climate of inspiration and creativity in the city.

The chosen concept considers the development of an attractive living environment for the art and creative scene as a sustainable location factor in the Bermuda3Eck in Bochum. Communicative meeting points and diverse experimental spaces for creative learning and working are to be deliberately promoted.


The primary design goal is the (re)activation of unused courtyard and rooftop spaces as communal and diverse spaces for exchange, incorporating the existing urban structure. Converted, currently vacant, buildings will be complemented both structurally and functionally by new buildings. Experimental living and working spaces should be able to be used in a variety of constellations, both in the short and long term. In this way, the image of the creative location Bermuda3Eck is continuously developing and at the same time reflects the traces of its users – “but that's what makes you you“.

The honest and unvarnished image of the Bermuda3Eck, which is also sung about by Herbert Grönemeyer in his song “Bochum”, is visible through the informal network and creates insights into the colorful hustle and bustle in the courtyards. A balanced mix of private use to public recreation and exercise areas are part of the urban design framework.

All in all, the places created are not intended to compete with Kortumstrasse as a consumer area and nightlife mile, but rather to enrich the entire neighborhood and offer visitors diverse opportunities for retreat.


The implementation of the design goals is based on the interplay of the guiding themes “reactivation&networking“, “transparency”, “innovation&experiment” and “dialogue” defined in advance.

These were implemented in the elaboration on the basis of four blocks.

In the southern part of Kortumstrasse at Konrad-Adenauer-Platz, the two flanking building blocks will have predominantly publicly used roof areas as a local recreation and exercise landscape. To the north of the parking garage, the block structure of the existing residential buildings will be supplemented and a jointly used inner courtyard will be created. Green allotments and workshops on the roofs are available to the residents. On the footprint of the former wasteland, a workshop with several workshops is being created. Suitable building components and surfaces are deliberately preserved here and incorporated into the design. The experimental character is also shown by the different courtyard situations. Studio apartments on the edge of the block and the redevelopment of the vacant buildings complete the range of uses.


In a first phase, measures that can be achieved in the short term, such as the use of private roof areas, will be addressed. A consensus with property owners and the strengthening of access points opens up the possibility of jointly used courtyards. To this end, block structures will be completed structurally.

Phase II will implement public rooftop spaces as well as studios and workshops. Workshop courtyards form the productive open spaces of the area and are complemented by private communal areas. Active sports areas on the parking garage at Konrad-Adenauer-Platz promote the movement and health of users.

The third phase involves expanding the housing stock through experimental housing forms and extending the design idea to surrounding blocks.


In the “Rausgeh4tel” neighbors, creative people and companies meet. All people who feel connected to the Bermuda3Eck, as well as its users and residents, benefit from the variety of offers and uses and jointly commit their time and expertise to the neighborhood and its further development within the framework of “Viertel-Stunden".

Starting point

Good open space is increasingly needed in cities and neighborhoods. The importance of public, agile, close, green, and diverse open space is especially evident through Corona.

Bochum has a long history of outdoor dining and live culture, and that needs to be preserved and supported by surrounding open space. In this way, more people come to the neighborhood and thereby also strengthen the existing businesses, since they stay longer in the neighborhood. The fact that there is a lack of local recreation areas was also confirmed by past citizen participation processes, because currently there is hardly any public open space and especially no green space in the Bermuda Triangle. In order to achieve more open space qualities in the neighborhood, we activate areas through reuse, unsealing and greening and thereby make them accessible to the public again.

Design goals

Through our actions, the Bermuda Triangle will become a vibrant, livable, green neighborhood, enabling a wide range of lifestyles. Inclusive design and accessibility throughout provide a strong sense of community, tolerance, and local solidarity. The Bermuda Triangle is adaptable, yet with the commitment needed to be resilient for stability, especially in the face of negative influences. The creation of extensive green spaces in the city brings great ecological added value for urban climate and biodiversity, as well as social added value such as physical and mental health. The differently designed spaces are a guarantee for a better quality of life and life balance for all people who spend time there.


We create different spaces and increase the quality of stay in the Bermuda Triangle through different measures. Despite their different qualities and uses, the open spaces are united by common design elements. Each open space is characterized by its environment, density and activity, as well as elements of interaction.

As our neighborhood center, the urban stage becomes a new meeting place openly designed for a variety of uses. In contrast, the meeting space is a more secluded place to linger. The active space offers various opportunities for balance and exercise. The enjoyment space is the gastronomy mile with a wide variety of offers and a lot of hustle and bustle. A quieter, more relaxed atmosphere with less hustle and bustle is offered by the retreat room.