A Golden Flower for Ingenhoven

Manuel Pestalozzi
20. September 2023
Christoph Ingenhoven (Photo © Jim Rakete)

The Goldene Blume, as it is called in German, is notably not only because it is the oldest environmental prize in Germany. Above all, it is also a sign of a special form of citizens' movement, because it came about through the initiative of committed residents in the former town of Rheydt, which has been part of Mönchengladbach since 1975. In 1967, they established “a prize for environmentally conscious thinking and action,” emphasized Mönchengladbach's Lord Mayor Felix Heinrichs in his speech at the award ceremony on September 10. 

The Golden Flower of Rheydt is not an architecture prize. Among the recipients of the handmade golden dahlia are musician Peter Maffay, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, teacher Hannelore "Loki" Schmidt, astronaut Reinhold Ewald, and actor Hannes Jaenicke. Thus, there is hope that the award can build a bridge between building culture and the wider public.

See also: “‘The world can learn from its diversity,’” an interview with Christoph Ingenhoven on some of his early attempts at green building.

The board of trustees for the award of the Golden Flower, chaired by Dr. Karl Hans Arnold, chose the founder and namesake of ingenhoven associates from Düsseldorf because the ecologically and economically responsible use of resources is central to his designs. As Dr. Arnold said in his laudatory speech: “They envisage the use of natural resources such as sunlight, geothermal energy, rainwater or air conditioning through natural fans.” And: “They adapt as much as possible to site-specific environments,” he specified, pointing to the concept of holistic, sustainable architecture lived out under the name “supergreen®.”

In a digression, the award winner addressed the current and future global challenges: “The future takes place in the cities. Here we must find intelligent solutions that provide answers to climate change, but also offer attractive working and living spaces.” The city of Mönchengladbach now wants to put such solutions into practice, as Mayor Heinrichs assured in his speech. The city is making its progressive contribution, he said: “We are currently drawing up an energy concept, we have already started working on a heating plan even before the law was passed, and we are taking our role in the structural move away from coal and toward a sustainable economy and society seriously.”

This article was first published as “»Goldene Blume« für Ingenhoven” on German-Architects. English translation edited by John Hill.

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