Rheinauhafen exhibition

“What was this place like before the Kranhäuser (crane buildings) were erected“? This is the question asked by most visitors to Rheinauhafen, the newest residential and business area in Cologne’s city centre with its modern and city-defining architecture.


The port has been home to krafthaus – workshop for museums and exhibitions – for more than a decade, so it set about answering this question in its own particular way. An exhibition was developed and implemented to document the area’s change and was aimed both residents and visitors.
The exhibition presented fascinating stories and trivia about the most important development phases of the Rheinauhafen. From the history of individual buildings to its role as a central reloading site for wheat and rye right up to today’s unique residential and business area. The occasional local anecdote also helped spice things up.
As the structure of the exhibition was spatial rather than chronological, each exhibition space – meaning each staircase – referred to a particular area, linking its history to the present. This way, the visitor was able to directly retrace which parts of the Rheinauhafen had changed over the course of time. The recent past was represented by the pictures of photographer Klaus Kuschek. Kuschek and his camera had accompanied the whole restructuring period of the Rheinauhafen with from the other side of the River Rhine since 2002 helping to catalogue the complete history of this part of Cologne from an external perspective.
The underground car park also profited from the exhibition. Its transparent staircases, which served as presentation spaces, were redesigned with printed foils helping them to lose their purely functional appearance. Originally planned as a temporary event, the exhibition has become a permanent exhibition owing to the overwhelming public feedback.
Anna-Schneider-Steig 2 (Rheinauhafen), 50678 Köln
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