Good sides, bad sides

Good sides, bad sides

He is satisfied. At least in broad terms. "The urban development of kitzingen is on the right track," says city curator dr. Harald knobling. There are many attractively designed areas – but of course there is also room for improvement.

Knobling moved to kitzingen in the mid-1980s. A lot has happened since then, especially in the last few years. During this time, building gaps have been closed and houses renovated. Housing that is better left in the city, rather than having to keep opening up new areas above it. The brewery yards are an example of this.

Knobling’s basic principle is to responsibly preserve the fabric of buildings where possible. Where new construction is needed, keep up with the times and do not rely on historicized construction methods. "Every era, every epoch," he says, "has its own formal language."A return to the past is necessary, but the use of historical forms is an anachronism. "We all drive modern cars, too."It is crucial to include the surrounding buildings in the planning, but to create something new that maintains its place in the cityscape.

The art historian and former art teacher likes to travel, visit cities and take an interest in historic preservation issues there. "But i also like to come back to kitzingen again and again." His favorite corner? The 66-year-old doesn’t have to think twice: he thinks the area along the main, between the old synagogue and the fire station, with a view of the old main bridge, is particularly attractive. "This is kitzingen’s chocolate side."He also likes the triangle "old cemetery – falterturm – luitpoldbau, including the old city wall". "This is still a largely intact area."The rescue of the "schmiedel-haus" within this quarter has a lot to do with his commitment. Now he is eagerly awaiting the new building that is to be erected next to it in worthstrabe. "It will blend in with its surroundings, and as a result will further eradicate the surrounding neighborhood," he predicts.

Knobling has been the town’s local historian since the beginning of 2014. The city council had once appointed him. Since then, he has been getting involved. Calm and level-headed, as is his way. His advice is sought for new buildings and conversions. He can’t decide, but he can help to make a decision, he can have an influence. "The cooperation with the building authority is very constructive and fruitful," he notes.

Nevertheless, the building development in kitzingen is not unreservedly pleasing for him, and he cites a few examples. For example, the two blocks of flats on the banks of the river main between the former baywa warehouse and the konrad-adenauer-brucke seem to him to be too powerful in proportion to the historically grown architectural environment. He also finds it regrettable that the valuable facade of a three hundred year old house in luitpoldstrabe had to make way for the new facade of the carnival museum. "There’s a lot to be said about this facade," he says, raising his eyebrows.

The history of the "goldener lowe" inn, which ended with its demolition and the subsequent construction of a new residential complex, does not fill the city’s local historian with joy either. And the historic train station building? "That had best the city bought and developed itself."An approach that knobling believes would be ideal in other areas as well: the city buys vacant properties in good time, renovates the buildings on its own, and rents or sells them again. The advantage: the city could intervene in the design process itself, had the power to act in its own hands. "Over the years, it has paid off," says knobling, who wishes the city would be more courageous in this regard. But he also knows why this approach is failing: first of all, staff had to be increased.

Instead, he observes a "typical phenomenon of our time" in some corners. Houses are gradually falling into disrepair. Until they can no longer be renovated, but have to be demolished. The marktcafe is the most prominent example in kitzingen. The new building in the middle of the fubganger zone he observes with great excitement. The modern glass body and the sober form will cause discussions. On the other hand, it is inevitable that the gap will be closed after years of discussions and the announcement of an architectural competition.

Knobling has many site visits, looks at the buildings that are to be rebuilt, looks at the gaps that are to be closed with new buildings with the employees of the building department and representatives of the state office for the preservation of historical monuments. He also travels to other cities for inspiration. One thing is very important to him: the solutions of today must be reflected in the cityscape. Modern forms, materials and techniques? Contemporary architecture? Yes! But it has to be convincing and enter into a positive dialogue with the built environment.

He still considers the fire station on the main river to be such a successful solution: in keeping with its shape, it nestles up against the main river like a ship – and yet offers optimum functionality for its users. The axes at landwehrplatz also agree with him. The arrangement of the trees, the sculpture by fred grimm in the center of the square – and as a visual highlight, the synagogue, to which several visual axes led. A sight that the city’s curator of local history appreciates. Another reason to be satisfied with the city’s development.

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