LUDA selected in the City:
These workings erected in Bauhaus style in 1932 were shut down in 1986 as the last remaining Essen colliery. Once the largest and most beautiful colliery buildings in Europe, today the site is an industrial monument of international repute. The most intriguing areas of mining and colliery history - production equipment, tippler shop, coal washery, and boiler house.
The Zollverein mine symbolizes history and new departures. Shortly after its construction in 1932, it had already become the most productive mine in the world. Since being shut down in 1986, it has become a shrine of industrial culture, the only one of its kind in the world, and in 2001 was designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations. Despite its historical significance, the Zollverein mine also stands for innovation, and has become a meeting point for design, culture and business. Several organizations are involved in carrying on the ground-breaking renovation work. However, it is already a long time since the rooms were made available for events. Interested parties can hire them and stage their functions in the exclusive ambience of a World Heritage center.
The architecture of the Zollverein mine has always had a beauty all its own. However, since the site was designated a World Heritage Center, it has been undergoing a process of change which is showing great promise. Here building projects are under way which are the only ones of their kind world-wide. One of the world’s most sought-after architects, Rem Koolhaas, has drafted a masterplan for the redevelopment work, taking into consideration the need for monumental preservation.
The historical part will be kept in its entirety, and will merely be carefully adapted for future use. The only new building here will be the internationally oriented Zollverein School of Management and Design, which will offer extended professional training in design and business to professionals aiming at management posts from 2005.
In the former Coal Washing Plant, however, mighty machines still bear witness to the backbreaking work of mining. This makes it the ideal site for a Visitor Center and the RuhrMuseum, which will keep alive the history of the region. However, the Coal Washing Plant will also present innovations, in the form of an international exhibition of design and architecture to be held there every five years.
Design will also play an important role outside the historical core of the site. Companies focusing primarily on design are to settle near the Coking Plant. A Creative Village is being built on the site of the Materials Store behind Mine 1/2/8, close to the mining tower, which will be a prestigious home to young and start-up enterprises within the Industrial Design Park.
Hotel and catering organizations are also enhancing the attractiveness of Zollverein for tourists.
In order to ensure that the planned building projects are appropriately connected, the entire infrastructure and design of the industrial landscape – from the pathways via the parking lots and green areas to the drains – are being redesigned by the landscape planning office Agence Ter. The Zollverein World Heritage Center is a site with unique industrial architecture which will in future become a center for design, culture and business.
Abandoned Areas of Transport Structure
X Areas distressed from outside / divided from the City
Areas with environmental Risks
Degraded historical Structures
Degraded Panel Housing Estate
Derelict military Areas
X Industrial Brownfiels
Peripheral Housing Districts from after II World War
Traditional residential Areas of Blue Collar Workers
Underused urban Areas
Size: ha² :
No. of Inhabitants:
Location and Boundaries:
North-East of the City Essen: see the map:
Image / Map:
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Urban Organization and Main Functions:
Zollverein – World Heritage Center and industrial culture site
At their 25th meeting on December 14, 2001, fifteen years almost to the day after the miners on the last shift in the once largest mine in the Ruhr clocked off on December 23, 1986, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO decided to include the Zollverein Mine and Coking Plant in its list of cultural and natural heritage centers.
New pathways at Zollverein
The face of the Zollverein is changing, but without losing its profile. Backed as a project promoting regional transformation and designated a World Heritage Center, a new phase of project development has begun. Zollverein’s future-oriented workshop has opened. Competitions lead internationally renowned architects to the site, and their varied ideas are making ready the future design and culture location. A special range of excursions through Zollverein is available to groups of experts and interested parties from the areas of urban development, architecture, project planning and culture management.
The mine, which even in 1932 was the biggest and most beautiful in the world, has already been awarded a number of titles, one of which is “cathedral of work“. However, when you approach the main gate, stand under the A-frame - which does indeed dominate the complex like a church tower – and perceive the organization of the buildings and functional areas, it quickly becomes clear that the architects were rather intent on drawing up ground plans for a masterpiece of stately architecture characteristic of absolutist times than on being inspired by sacred models. Without being aware of it, they thus created architectural works for the heirs of the coal barons, who were organized in the form of a stock corporation. With regard to the construction of this mining complex, which in those times of global economic crisis was designed with an eye to economy, the coal barons were not concerned with erecting a monument to work, but with setting a trend for the rate of return.
The beginnings of the Zollverein mine, which was named after the customs and commercial union founded in 1834 by 18 German states, go back to the 1840s. At that time, Franz Haniel from Ruhrort acquired the first rights in a mining claim to the north-east of the city of Essen, which in the end covered an area of 13.8 km?. This was to safeguard coal supplies to his iron production and processing company in Oberhausen. In choosing this name, Haniel, one of the founding fathers of the iron and steel industry in the Rhine region, revealed himself to be one of the ambitious, progressive citizens who hoped for political and economic union in a single German state. The Zollverein mines remained in the possession of his family for more than seventy years; only in 1920 did they change ownership for the first time, and were taken over by one of the largest metallurgical mines in the Ruhr area, “Phoenix AG für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb” (Phoenix AG for Mining and Metallurgy).
Mine 1/2 was sunk in 1847; as regards the traffic infrastructure, it was favorably located close to the railroad from Cologne to Minden which had been opened the same year. The pit complexes 3/7/10, 4/5/11 and 6/9 followed during the period preceding the turn of the century. The four independently operated but jointly managed complexes were continually adapted to meet the requirements of the operational plan, as well as being technically modernized and structurally amended as appropriate. In the 1920s, prevailing economic conditions forced work processes to be largely automated, particularly in the surface installations. For this reason, Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG (“United Steelworks AG”), which took over ownership of the Zollverein mines in 1926, had the central pit complex Zollverein 12 constructed between 1928 and 1932. Extraction, preparation and energy provision were concentrated here; from this time on, the other pit complexes were used merely as entrances and exits and as supply shafts.
Martin Schupp (1896-1974) and Fritz Kremmer (1894-1945) were entrusted with the task of making the diverse technical facilities of this large-scale mining complex not only aesthetic, functional, reasonably priced and fast, but also flexible with regard to possible site movements and any changes which operation might render necessary. Influenced by Louis Sullivan’s formula “Form follows function” and the Bauhaus ideals of functionality and doing justice to materials, they decided to use simple cubes for the structural shells, the frames of which consisted of even steel grids filled in with bricks, which were lit by wired glass strips attached to the walls, which were connected axially and which were integrated into the complex by adding green areas and courtyards.
In accordance with this principle, the entrance area is a noble prelude to what is to come: the grass beyond the mine gate is like a courtyard, bordered on three sides by the converter building and distribution station, the end walls of the two workshops and the mighty shaft house under the soaring mining tower. On the left, the coking coal tower with the conveyor bridges is visible next to the shaft house, and behind it we see the coal washing plant, which stands on reinforced concrete supports and under which rail wagons can travel from one side to the other on five tracks. Here two building materials are combined and make the functional areas recognizable even from the outside: the bunkers are made of concrete and the machinery floors are made of steel framing, as are the other constructions and plants next to and behind the shaft house: the discharge terminal, tipper hall/separating plant, electrostatic filter building and conveyor bridges.
The boiler house at the end of the transverse axis running between the mechanical and the electric workshops is a counterpoint to the courtyard and the A-frame which dominates the entire complex. There is also a yard in front of the boiler house, flanked by the low and high pressure compressor houses. Their plain facades draw the eye to the projecting front of the boiler house, with a crow-step gable design in the center, behind which a slender chimney, torn down for static reasons after the mine closure, used to soar over 100 meters into the sky.
The organization of the complex, the spatial relationship between the buildings and functional units, individual structural shells and building components and the design of details such as lighting and railings, gates and doors, are the reason for Zollverein’s fame. Mine 12 set new standards of architecture and engineering which were not outdone until the decline of the mining industry sealed the fate of mining architecture. However, it would be too simplistic to see it as the incunabula of a critical phase in the architectural and technical history of the 1920s; the significance of Zollverein Mine 12 goes far beyond this: the complex represents the part of European industrial history written from the Emscher to the Ruhr between the middle of the 19th century and the end of the 20th. As the most important structural and technical monument to large-scale mining, Mine 12 is an unparalleled symbol of the mining history of this region, also handed down by other pits, industrial railways, worker settlements and pit heaps in the immediate vicinity.
At the heart of the present-day World Heritage Center, this 150-year era is also documented by Mine 1/2/8, situated to the north behind the boiler house. The machine house built in 1903, the coop built in 1906 and renovated in 1965, the main magazine finished in 1922, the stately brick central administration building erected in 1906, the even older director’s villa of 1898 and the officers’ residence of 1878 all bear witness to each phase of development and modernization. Today, post-war pit frames stand on the foundations of the original Malakov towers erected in 1847. The headframe of Mine 1 built in 1956/58 and the pit tower of Mine 2 built in 1950, which was moved by the "Friedlicher Nachbar" mine in Bochum, were designed by Fritz Schupp, as was the extension added in 1958 to the hoisting machinery building of 1903. Here too, the Bauhaus ideals were a major influence. Thus Schupp, who together with Kremmer drafted the preparation plant of the Rammelsberg ore mine in Gossar in 1935/36 – today also a World Heritage Center - in a less progressive but politically opportune "Heimatschutz" style (a style promoted by Nazi ideologists) after the construction of Mine 12, continued to show himself an advocate of classical modernity.
The new building for the central coking plant represents the last major phase of Zollverein and the exploitation of the especially rich fat and gas coal resources found at a depth of 200 to 800 meters, which were excellently suited for coking and had thus been used for this purpose since the mine’s beginnings. It was erected between 1958 and 1961 – again using drafts by Fritz Schupp – to the north-west of Mine 12. Again he kept to the construction and design principles which had reached their culmination with the construction of Mine 12, using structural shells of reinforced concrete or steel framing and axial connections to integrate the entire complex. On the so-called Black Side, we can follow the path of the coking coal from the mixing tower to the loading area, with the charging towers and charging wagons, the ovens and coke pushers, the coke quenching plant and the separating plant as stopping places along the way. Separated from the coke-producing area by the main development route, the buildings of the byproduct plant on the White Side record the path taken by the gas through the tar and phenol extraction plants, the suction and compressor house, the HP plant and sulphuric acid wet catalysis facilities, the cooling towers, flares and gas containers. As with Mine 12, Schupp focused on specific units: the A-frame over Mine 12, which was intended to be highly effective at a distance, corresponds to the row of chimneys at the Coking Plant, in front of the battery of coke ovens covering a distance of more than 600 m.
The functional interconnections between Mine 12, Mine 1/2/8 and the Coking Plant, which make up the core of the World Heritage Center, are underlined by the conveyor bridges linking them. Moreover, the mine’s rail tracks, which were used for transportation within the site and as connections to the main line rail routes and the Rhine-Herne Canal, point to the still existing substance of the other pits in the puffer zone of the World Heritage Center, defined by the edges of the Katernberg, Stoppenberg and Schonnebeck districts. Another landmark over Mine 3/7/10 is visible from far away: the pit frame erected in 1913, near the machine hall built in the same year and the converter building. With regard to Mine 4/11, the machine hall built in the period of foundation between 1891 and 1894 still remains. The pit building of Mine 11 and the hoist building of 1926/28 which is connected to it, again based on designs by Fritz Schupp, as is the workshop building of 1955, bear witness to periods of renovation and expansion in the 1920s and 1950s. All that remains of Mine 6/9, which was constructed in 1895/97, are parts of the mine wall, the mine’s railroad embankment and an avenue of plane trees.
However, not only the relics of the other pit complexes are important for understanding the industrial culture of Mine 12, but also the forms of the houses and settlements, leisure, cultural and care facilities which arose in the immediate vicinity while the mine was developing. The worker settlements in the puffer zone surrounding Zollverein are of particular monumental interest, and document the construction of worker accommodation from the early colonies to the apartment blocks of the recent past. They are essential to the understanding of this industrial culture landscape, with its network of relationships between work, production and lifestyle all thrown together in a topographically contiguous area.
Population Structure and Dynamic:
Comparative population development data for Katernmeber LUDA area and City of Essen ( December 31st, 2003)
Katernberg City of Essen
Population total 23.804 586.750
Change between the years 1993-2003 - 1,8% -6,1%
Population younger 18 years 22,3% 16,5%
Change between the years 1993-2003 2,2 -5,5
Population older 60 years 23,5% 27,7%
Change between the years 1993-2003 6,0 6,3
Population of German origin 82,9% 90,3%
Change between the years 1993-2003 -2,3% -7,0%
Foreigners` 17,1% 9,7%
Change between the years 1993-2003 0,8% 2,7%
Population with the migration background
(not German population and double
citizenship) 26,2% 15,2%
Change between the years 1993-2003 19,8% 25,3%
Unemployment 1) 11,6% 8,8%
Population on social benefit
(December 31st, 2002) 12,2 7,0
Change between the year 1991-2002 -5,9% 3,1%
1) Percentage of the unemployed workable population in the age 18 - 64 years
Main LUDA’s Problems (social / political / economical / ecological):
The broad spectrum of social, political, economical and ecological problems typical for the old industrial sites with the features of a brownfield after shot down production in 1986 as the last remaining Essen colliery. Once the largest and most beautiful colliery buildings in Europe, today the site is an industrial monument of international repute. The most intriguing areas of mining and colliery history - production equipment, tippler shop, coal washery, and boiler house have survived in situ.
In the coming years, it will be necessary to hand down the standards of quality prescribed by Schupp and Kremmer and maintained during the reconstruction work of the 1990s, as well as recommencing use of the Zollverein area as an innovative business location as part of a sustained integrated development concept. The Design Platform as a professional education and research institute, the Metaform as an international design exhibition, the Zollverein Design Park as an industrial area and the relocation of the RuhrMuseum as an exhibition site for industrial culture, natural history and cultural history will be further building blocks of this development. The necessary outline plan for urban development was developed by Rem Koolhaas and the OMA office in Rotterdam. The requisite new buildings are to be erected at the periphery of the site and will enclose the monument like a frame.
Reasons for Neglect:
Brownfield after shot down production, in 1986 the last remaining Essen colliery.
Additional Biography (if available):
Essen/Katernberg / Ein Stadtteil macht sich auf den Weg/Sociale Stadt, Stand der Projekte, Report, Stadt Essen 2004, 111 pp.