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Zeche Zollverein EssenGasometer OberhausenLandschaftspark Duisburg-NordTetraeder Bottrop



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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.

Innovative 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.


ArchEX organises architecture tours for groups in the Ruhr Area. For more information and a free offer, please contact us.



Architecture 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





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