THE RUHR AREA
once was the largest industrial region in Europe. Here coal deposits
have been exploited on a large scale, supporting a considerable steel
production. In the 1980s the decline of these industries had become a
fact and most of the workers ended up unemployed. With the
international building exhibition IBA Emscherpark the local councils
started a big conversion process from the heavy "dirty" industries
towards environmental friendly technologies.
and future oriented enterprises should be attracted by the new policy.
Many of the extensive industrial installations of coal mines, cokes
ovens and steel factories, nowadays house museums, education and
science centers. The kilometer long infrastructures of pipelines,
railway tracks, canals and conveyor belts form a new type of industrial
inter-city landscape park.
The Zollverein mine is a good
example of an industrial installation prevented from demolishing and
being included in the UNESCO world heritage list. Next to the Design
Center (Norman Foster) and the Choreographic Institute, the coking
plant with its oven and chimneys is the most impressive building on the
site. Currently the whole area is being remodified according to a
masterplan created by OMA. As part of this new plan, the Japanese
architects of SANAA realised an exceptional design for the Zollverein
School for Management and Design.
In one of the Rhine
harbours of Duisburg, the Innenhafen, old grain silos have been reused
as offices and as a museum (Herzog & De Meuron). New residential
architecture accomplishes the mix of functions. In the former coal
bunkers of the steel works of Duisburg one can find now small pocket
gardens or climbing walls, while other people dive in old gas holders.
designed by by Ahlbrecht & Scheidt, Heinrich Böll, Hans
Krabel, Christoph Märkler Architekten, Herzog & De Meuron,
Benthem Crouwel, OMA Rem Koolhaas, Foster and Partners, SANAA
and many others