June 29, 2018 | Publications: Bauwelt

  Detail of the cover of StadtBauwelt 218 Copyright: © Bauverlag BV GmbH  

StadtBauwelt 218 focuses on sixteen small towns in Germany and its neighbouring countries. Caroline Helmenstein and Verena Hake have examined two of these small towns more closely: Bad Münstereifel on the German side and Spa on the Belgian side. Thus, they created two personal miniature portraits.

Bad Münstereifel: Scenery for a Factory Outlet.

The plan of transforming the protected historic center of the declining spa town into a factory outlet center was conceived by three local investors in 2011. Mayor and city council enthusiastically accepted the idea. Bad Münstereifel was heavily indebted at the time, one of ten inhabitants had left and numerous shops were empty. The downward spiral began in 1996 with a health reform that almost brought the previously flourishing spa business to a standstill. After all, since the beginning of the 20th century this has formed the economic basis of the Eifel town, and still at the end of the 1980s numerous spa guests populated the Kneipp health resort, which has officially had the "Bad" in its name since 1967. The town did not know how to cope with the changes for a long time until the investor trio came up with its promising vision of a factory outlet integrated into the historically grown town center. Caroline Helmenstein precisely points out what has been achieved and what has not in the implementation of this vision. Whether this experiment will work in the long term remains to be seen. Full article: Bad Münstereifel: Scenery for a Factory Outlet. (DE)

Spa: Splendor and Vanitas of the former "Café de l'Europe".

Located about twenty-five kilometres south-east of Liège in a valley of the Ardennes and lined with dense deciduous forests, in the 18th century Spa, starred with mineral springs, was regarded as the "Café de l'Europe" in which the European aristocracy - including rulers such as Tsar Peter the Great - met for a summer retreat. In the middle of the 19th century, a second heyday followed: the previously aristocratic town gave way to an upper middle-class audience; the thermal and tourist infrastructure was furtherly expanded by numerous representative thermal architectures. Today, the city is mostly associated with the Formula 1 races held in nearby Francorchamps than with an elaborate and vivid thermal culture. At the same time, Spa is honestly endeavouring to bring its thermal peculiarities back into the focus of public interest. Verena Hake examines and evaluates previous strategies of the local administration as well as realized projects; she also points out present deficits and future potentials of the Belgian small thermal town. The declared objective should be to relocate the focus of the thermal bathing - currently located on the periphery of the town - back to its center. Full article: Spa: Splendor and Vanitas of the former "Café de l'Europe". (DE)



Dr.-Ing. Caroline Helmenstein
Dipl.-Ing. Architektin Verena Hake