During the Second World War fourteen bunkers were built in Bonn. One of them was the Windeck-Bunker in the city center. The bunkers were part of Bonn’s plans to protect their inhabitants from the nightly bombings. An interesting fact is that there was actually only enough space for 12.000 inhabitants, which meant that twice that amount had no shelter at all.
Today, few visitors are interested in these remains from the war. In fact, many cities tried to destroy these war-era eyesore monuments. However the massive nature of the structures has made these efforts almost impossible.
So what should one do with these bunkers?
The Windeck-Bunker became a design challenge for 14 landscape architecture students from Penn State University (PA, USA). Primarily focusing on redesigning the neglected park surrounding the bunker, they found themselves confronted with this massive monolith in the center of their site. Under the auspices of the City of Bonn’s Departments for Urban Planning and Open Spaces, the students set out to redesign and repurpose the bunker and its surrounding space, to give it new purpose, use and meaning - and to bring the bunker back to peoples‘ attention. In cooperation with Berlin artist Thorsten Golderg, the students set up a public art workshop to implement provocative installations on site. One of these was to give, “Günther”, aka the bunker, a voice – letting him lament to passers-by about its neglect and tragic past.
Afterwards, the students developed a design for the site and the bunker, leading to intriguing models, such as that of “The Berg”: a new topography covering the bunker, which would serve as a large-scale data center.