City wall and Darmstadtia
The city wall
The head of the city’s monument protection office, Nikolaus Heiss, made sure that the digging work on the site of the science and conference centre was monitored, as it was an historical site, but he did not expect any significant finds to be made. But a surprise came when the diggers got 80 cm down: stone walls were found.
The visible part of the old city wall, which can be seen in the forecourt, had already been part of the architectural competition. Now, however, an underground defence tunnel, the remains of a tower and thus traces of an outer city wall had been found. The walls are part of an historical fortification. It was built by Emperor Louis the Bavarian to protect the city from attack after it was granted city status in 1330.
Naturally, the findings had to be preserved and were thus integrated in a way that respects this ancient monument. To this end, part of the area earmarked for the underground car park had to be excluded to allow it to be left open to the public. A glass cover secures the findings; on the inside, a staircase from the foyer leads down to the city wall. 55 parking spaces had to be sacrificed, but these were compensated for by an additional 105 parking spaces in the southeastern part.
In 1864, the Hessian sculptor, painter and draftsman Johann Baptist Scholl the Younger (1881-1881) created this monument, originally named "Hassia" (modern Latin name for Hesse). The head of the sandstone figure is fitted with a coping and is holding a sword and a shield with Darmstadt’s emblem.
At the beginning, the Darmstadtia was placed on a three-storey fountain at the Ludwigsplatz, but it was replaced by a Bismarck monument in 1905. A copy of the Darmstadtia has been in the “Wolfskehl’schen Park” along the Karlstraße in Darmstadt since 1964.
After being placed in the basement of the "Pädagog" since 1983, the sandstone figure was moved to the entrance foyer atrium of the darmstadtium in 2013.