Squares in Germersheim, Germany
Germersheim, a history-rich city on the Rhine in Southern Germany, is getting a face lift: currently, several of its squares – in particular, the old Paradeplatz – are being refurbished. HeidelbergCement subsidiary Lithonplus acted as technical advisor to the city, and supplied the special paving stone “Diamant Germersheim”.
During the chaos of the 1849 Revolutions in Germany, the Grand Duke of Baden fled to Germersheim, where the fortress offered protection to him and his family. To this day, Germersheim is considered an outstanding example of a fortified city. Now, on the site where troops once marched in formation – hence, the name: Paradeplatz – residents will soon be able to stroll or shop in the nearby shopping center. Since May of 2016, construction has been underway. The planners who initiated the project have one overarching goal in mind: all new buildings in and around Paradeplatz must fit organically with the existing city backdrop. “From the very start, our aim was to blend with the surroundings. At the same time, we wanted to bring out the aesthetic of the place and the encompassing structures, as well as making the most of their practical potential,” explains Norbert König, lead alderman and planning commissioner of Germersheim. Roads and sidewalks are to be integrated in such a way that they cannot be distinguished, except by installed bollards.
Germersheim-based construction firm Heinrich Scherer was ultimately chosen as contractor for the job. Together, the contractor and city planners decided to take advantage of the know-how offered by the Lithonplus crew and the quality and diversity of its products. They were particularly impressed with Diamond Germersheim – a paving stone designed especially for this project. The stone is striking in appearance, not only because of its hue, but because its surface is self-cleaning thanks to bcs (bionic cleanable structure) technology. In fact: this self-cleaning function endures throughout the lifetime of the stone, so that it will continue to stand out far longer than conventional paving stones. And they offer another distinct characteristic – the use of HeidelbergCement’s specialty cement TioCem means that the stone is photocatalytic, breaking down nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants. “Used in an application of this size, the most significant effect is in the summer months, when pollutant concentrations in the city are higher,” says Bekim Nesimi, southwest regional sales manager at Lithonplus.
In light of its multiple technical advantages, one of the stone’s most important characteristics is often overlooked: namely, its durability and strength. And this is important, given that bus and delivery traffic – not to mention events like the bi-annual Fortress Festival – will expose the paving stones to extreme stress.