Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Throughout the entire Ruhrgebiet are the remains of what was formerly a powerful industrial culture: buildings, coke ovens, rail lines, canals, etc. Today the mines are shut down and steel production is only a tiny fraction of what it once was. The remaining infrastructure represents the Ruhr's greatest challenge and most valuable asset. From Zeche Zollverein in Essen to the Duisburg Landschaftpark, the infrastructure needs to be repurposed, removed or renovated. A great example the successful repurposing of a post-industrial building is very close to Berliner Platz, just on the edge of what you might think of as the core of the city. I'm attending a course through the Volkshochschule that meets there.

The building, formerly owned by AEG Kanis, is now called the Weststadthalle. The original construction is still visible under a glass and steel facade that was installed when the building was completely renovated in 2002-03. It's a fascinating example of the inventive use of abandoned industrial buildings, revealing both the Bauhaus inspired old brick facade, as well as the immaculate glass curtain that reflects landscape and sky. My class is in the half of the building that houses the Folkwang Musik Schule and the contrast between the 21st century facade and the 19th century interior is spectacular.


Charlie said...

Looks like a very cool building!

Christine said...

coke ovens?