The Cologne Carnival is an annual celebration whose roots lay in the catholic church. The festivities that celebrate the time before Lent commences, mark an integral part of the city’s identity. The new institution ‚House of the Carnival’ is meant to represent this tradition.
The site at the ‘Quatermarkt’ in Cologne is situated alongside the Via Culturalis. This is an axis of cultural institutions and landmarks, such as museum and the archaeological zone. It starts at the Cologne Cathedral and runs 800 meters south.
The ‘Quatermarkt’ already existed in ancient roman times. Although the name suggests there was a market place, it used to be an urban block. In medieval Cologne, this block was shaped by narrow alleys. After its destruction in WWII the property was overbuilt with a freestanding building, leaving it a solitaire in an otherwise dense city structure.
Deriving from the original density, the design recreates a closed block, which gives definition to the alleys.
Carnival is a colourful and traditional festival, whose focus is on the community. This defines the main function – which is assembly. Therefore, the ceremonial hall is at the center of the concept. Furthermore, the building includes the festival committees’ administration, exhibition areas and archives.
The building concept is the ‘house-in-a-house’, defining the ceremonial hall as the central element. The ‘shell-and-core’ are separated by a gap, while still forming a symbiosis. The most significant areas are protected by the ‘shell’, which accommodates all secondary functions. The saddle roof marks the position of the house in its urban surroundings.
Carnival is all about transformation – changing the city and every individual. This defines the visual qualities of the house, changing its colours and materials. The movement and cheerfulness associated with it, is implied in all architectural elements.