Thursday, February 16, 2017

Town Halls

Freiburg has a few town halls that developed historically. The oldest, somewhat hidden, and less-known building is the Gerichtslaube (courthouse) first mentioned in 1280 and where in 1498 an Imperial Diet held its meetings.

Gerichtslaube
On Rathausplatz in full view are the so-called old and new town halls, the former built in 1557 in Renaissance style while the latter following the acquisition of two older buildings was finished in 1901 in the revival style of historicism.

New and old town hall on Rathausplatz.
The latter is decorated with a color called Ochsenblut (ox blood).
Over time, the increase in space became necessary because a growing Freiburg needed more services and administration. Even the three town halls - nowadays the Gerichtslaube is only used for ceremonial purposes - soon became to small, so many services had to move into several other buildings scattered all over Freiburg. This was annoying not only for the city administration but for the citizens, too, who had to go all over town to get their official business done.

Technical town hall under construction (©Wikipedia/Andreas Schwarzkopf)
This is why a new bulding called technical town hall was planned and is presently under construction. The move of all those scattered offices into the new premises was initially planned for November of last year and then postponed to April of this year. Yesterday the city informed the press that it cannot move into the new building before November 2017. It is the technologically complicated suspended ceiling containing air conditioning, sprinkler system, lighting and loudspeakers that is causing the further delay.

Accursed ceiling (©BZ/Ingo Schneider) 
Well, by now we Germans are accustomed to delays and cost overruns at all major construction sites. As the responsible site manager said in his mind-blowing logic: When we build longer than planned the building becomes more expensive.

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