Siemensstrasse 144

ROM.HOF – Student residence in Bonn

The city is polycentric. Over time, the surrounding villages have grown into the urban body. The incorporated localities in the fabric of the city can still be perceived structurally and spatially today, sometimes they have retained their center although the individual reshaping. Towards the outside, the spatial and formal concentration decreases, the villages each maintain their own and overlapping peripheries within the overall urban structure. They are urban landscapes of different origins, growing together in a disorderly manner, penetrating one another and creating a new emptiness instead of a new centre.

Correspondence of places
It is a place that, linguistically, deserves an "in between" rather than a "in the middle". Its spatial identity is shaped more effectively by the topography of traditional agriculture than by the country roads that run out and the scattered settlements that accompany them. Leaving aside the body's immediate location, it is difficult to discern a local reference point for the architectural repositioning. Rather, it is made indirectly and derived from the dedication. Topologically, the building as a student courtyard builds an associative bridge to the neighboring "village" and the university buildings there from the late 19th century near the palace. This spatial relationship cannot be viewed from any vantage point in the city. Aesthetically, it remains reserved for the “correspondence” (M. Seel) of both places about similarities.

Inner room sequences
With its introversion, the building meets the outdoor space of the place. From the street, a gate leads to inner arcades with small apartments. The open corridors of the four floors are connected by stairs in the corners. The core space is divided by an inserted crossbar (“wash house”) and has courtyards on the upper entrance level and the lower exit level, which are surrounded by arcades and connect to the open landscape via the lower gate. The kitchen is in the lower courtyard, the laundry room is in the upper courtyard and the playroom above it. The apartments with their ancillary rooms, including kitchens and bathrooms, are connected to the arcades via openings with doors and windows. The outward-facing rooms are preceded by loggias (“studioli”).

loneliness and togetherness
As a “courtyard”, the building is of a type that, with its atrium and forum for house and city, points to a long building history. The fact that it occurs in different contexts in house and town planning is due to a “higher purpose” (G. Semper), which always first acknowledges the “courtyard” as a type: the dedication to communal living in house and town. As an inner outdoor space, the courtyard is the most public part of the building, mediating reciprocally between the street and the apartment. And just as the courtyard is systemically made up of a core room and an arrangement and is dedicated to “commonality”, the interior of the apartment also goes back to this same principle. Because of the complementary dedication to “loneliness”, however, the “studiolo”, as the core room of the apartment, has been shifted eccentrically to the outer periphery of the building. As the spatial end of the apartment, of house and yard as well as of the city, it is the place of the greatest possible withdrawal from community and society, because of the lack of urban context and the exposed exterior interior spaces of the city, the "Studiolo" is at the same time the place that immediately confronted with the outside outside space of land and landscapes.

House and yard as a festival
The “washhouse” in the middle of the courtyards represents communal living by showing and by producing (hopefully) presupposing the act of communal living. The residential courtyard as a whole is intended as a "dense settlement", but instead of the rural, the urban appears here. As if to offset the lack of urban space design on site, this "urbanized settlement" leads to an urbanity inside the building. Only in this way can the horizontally and vertically centered and raised room be appropriately furnished with washing and drying machines, only in this way can the fountain in the courtyard in front indicate this dedication. But even more original than washing, the hearth and cooking point to the communal event. The courtyard, which is open to the landscape on the lower level, is in front of the communal kitchen with its fireplace. And high above, even above the other two, the room is set up for playing. The usual cooking, washing, playing mean here the festival, a festival of "beautiful use" (B. Taut), the "festival" (H.-G. Gadamer), which is community and represents community.

system of architecture
The building is organized organically. Part and whole stand in a relationship to each other, which is presented as the proportion of spaces and forms and which is based on scale. In the system of architecture, the proportion of the spaces leads back to the unity of the opening and the proportion of the forms to the unity of the pillar. Opening and pillars, spaces and forms are integrated from the outset in one and the same modular dimension. In this respect, proportion describes the proportionality within an order, here the building, scale describes the proportionality between two orders, here, that of the building and there, that of the dwellers. It is only through scale that the building, with its spaces and forms, relates to something different, to the occupants. It is primarily the craftsmanship of the brick that makes the scale of the building tangible: grasping means grasping. Scale encompasses far more than the traditional anthropomorphism or metrics of form, but rather means the spatial aspect of the architecture before and after it. Ultimately, it achieves the entire constitution, which also includes the ability of the residents to move, perceive and imagine. A scale that can no longer be exhausted in moderation, but finds expression in an expanded proportionality.

openness and openings
The rooms are borrowed from the walls. They are connected to each other and to the outside via the element of the opening. The openness and closedness of the walls indicate the social separation into public and private. Walls include and exclude via openings. The openness of the building decreases from the inside to the outside. In the same way that the outer openings of the walls show the residents' own rooms to the outside, the inner openings with the doubling of the interval point to the common ones inside. The openings are also spaces, spaces inside walls in which one stands and through which one walks. Walls open up as places and paths. Arches and vaults characterize this inner spatiality of the wall in a special way: the protective and sheltering character of the enclosing and at the same time opening gesture has a space-intensifying effect on those places and paths. An arc focuses the center through which gaze and movement lead. Unlike the angled opening, which merely cuts out and pulls away from the wall, the arch seems to expand the opening, pulling the wall aside as it were and bundling it in the pillar, which is probably why the massif in the space of the opening still seems to be perceptible.

Botany of the Wall
Especially since it can do nothing else, at least not without other support, the brick masons arches and vaults. Openings under arches make walls appear heavy. The loads are smoothly deflected via the arch into the wall and pillar and carried away in the ground. The “flowing off” of the loads allows the wall to be firmly rooted in the ground and grow out of it. This peculiar effectiveness of the wall is symbolically represented in the structure of the stones. As the wall approaches the ground, the water-struck brick changes to red and because of the height difference from the street to the landscape behind, the building forms a base storey clad primarily in red at the rear. The walls rising above the plinth turn yellow. The transition from red to yellow shows an increase and decrease in a progression that mimetically depicts the “growth” of the wall and the “growth” of the building in the mixed transition. This symbolism of the “organic” wall and the organismic structure is transformed in several respects and with the occurrence of head, runner and bearing sides of the stone, with the wild bond, with the ramification of the joint network, with projections and recesses and predetermined ones manual "mistakes" underpinned. The resulting irregular pattern characterizes the wall's growth tissue and determines the tectonics of the building – like a plant.

robe of the rooms
The inner polychromy of the walls and ceilings ties in with the material colors of the bricks, red and yellow. First with the third color, the mineral blue, with which the ceilings have been "painted away". Three other colors, beige, purple and green, show up as products of the three main colors. The inner walls of the arbours, stairs and "wash house" are covered with a cardboard-colored beige as a mixture of red and yellow. Those of the outward-facing “studioli” change from purple to green from bottom to top. If the "Studiolo" is located behind a wall made primarily of red bricks, the walls are painted a brownish purple as a mixture of red and blue. Behind the predominantly yellow walls, green appears as a product of yellow and blue. Because of the silicification with the plastered base, the germ colors show a mineral "depth". The polychromy refers to the public parts, ie to the spaces of the building that are dedicated collectively, and contributes to their atmosphere. In the outer "studioli" of the apartments, the colors symbolically recall the communal and social and refer back to the spatiality of the house as well as the city. Otherwise, the apartments with white and gray are excluded from the color scheme.

Detlef Beer's art also leaves out the color - under the blue ceilings of the "Wash House" and the "Studioli". This is all the more remarkable when one considers that in the work of the painter Beer, the use of color, in particular the colors yellow, blue and red, has fundamental and conceptualizing meanings: Here, however, the architectural assumption of color leads to an artistic renunciation of color. First of all, it is the “sparing” of the color that spatializes the intimate relationship between the nude and the building. Because in the way in which architecture structurally delimits the space, but masks the structure with color in order to turn the effect entirely to the inner rooms, art first and foremost takes an opening with its "leaving out" color against architecture of the rooms. But these silhouette-like openings are not intended to draw attention to the structure above, such as the rough plaster base or the rough concrete of the ceiling, but rather an opening of space into another space, an imaginary space, an expanded one , boundless, an open space. From there, apparently from far away, prompted by the light background, the playfulness of the three abstract ceiling paintings reflects back into the inner space. The mathematics of the work and the proper names left out in the ceilings of the “studioli” mysteriously allude to astronomy.

At present
The building makes reference to what came before and the past, without distancing itself too clearly from the "old". So it doesn't really appear "new". That doesn't have to be a disadvantage, since what is still called "new" today may have arrived tomorrow by what is called "old" - at least too hasty for the deliberate architecture, which fashion shouldn't be about anyway. As in the ground, the building is also laying foundations over time, a work on the cohesion of past, present and future: the building will probably not have been modern.

(explanations by usarch)