Stadtsaal at Aachen Bus Station

  Group of people sitting on stairs Copyright: © Stadtsaal The team of Stadtsaal Aachen on the stairs of the Bushof underpass.

The pedestrian underpass at Aachen Bus Station was a good example of how urban planning can go wrong. Unused for years, the people of Aachen really only knew the underpass as a large trash can. In 2020, the RWTH Chair for Building Typologies received permission from the city of Aachen to turn the derelict space into a special cultural experience: the Stadtsaal. "Our goal was to rediscover the site and turn it into a unique experience," explains architecture student Christopher Neuwirth. "And not just for RWTH members, but for the people of Aachen as a whole."

But before that could happen, the students first had to do some proper scrubbing and DIY. "We cleaned up, replastered the walls, and decorated parts of the stairs with heating covers that we were able to recycle from an old office building," recalls Neuwirth. All their hard work certainly paid off: the dreary staircase has been transformed into a bright, appealing venue. Since then, flea and swap markets, table soccer, beer pong, and table tennis tournaments, graffiti and handicraft workshops and, of course, parties have all taken place in the Stadtsaal. "With our new roof structure, we're now also protected against both the wind and the sun," says Christopher, "and we are also a bit more visible from street level." By the way, in keeping with sustainability efforts, the scaffolding was also borrowed and will find its way back to the scaffolding company when the project ends next year.

Until then, there are plenty of events to come, including a classical music series with Mozart concerts in cooperation with the city of Aachen – the next performances will take place next weekend. Maybe we’ll see you there?