I still hear the miners’ voices here...

Kolakowski, Marcin Mateusz (1998) I still hear the miners’ voices here... Architektura & Biznes, 77 (12). pp. 24-28. ISSN 1230-1817

I still hear the miners’ voices here...[A&B1998/12]

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I still hear the miners’ voices here...
This year’s German Constructec award went to the German architects Boll and Krabel of Essen for their unspectacular yet very consistent reconstruction of the 12th shaft of the Zeche Zollverein coal mine in Essen, once the world’s largest coal mine. The significance of this project cannot be fully grasped without the broader context of the changes underway for the last 9 years in the industrial district of Ruhr under the aegis of the International Archi¬tectural Exhibition (IBA). In over 100 projects involving more than 150 architects from all over the world, it tries to materialise the idea of long-term development promoted at the Rio de Janeiro conference. German reclaiming projects are worth taking a closer look at because they are often carried out at a low cost. One of the examples is the Duisburg-Nord mine, transformed into a landscape park. Another is the Gelsenkirchen mine, turned into a Sunday park and venue for the BUGA flower fairs.
The objectives of the modernisation of Shaft 12 have been well summed up by IBA Director in Emscherpark and Gelsenkirchen: “The essence of our activity is to prolong the life of buildings and production devices for as long as possible for ecological and economic reasons. Even a well designed building seems worse in terms of use of materials and maintenance than a modernisation and revitalisation scheme.” These words refer primarily to brown sites.
The Zollverein mine was closed as one of the last ones in the region, in 1986, when it was announced to be a technological monument. Underway since the early 1990s, the History and Modern Art Centre project at Zeche Zollverein XII was initiated by the Nordrein-Westfallen authorities. The strategy assumed renting various rooms and halls out to specific people or organisations and then rebuilding them according to these users’ needs. The main building was entrusted to the London-based Norman Foster & Partners for design work. Contracting and rebuilding of all other rooms was commissioned to Boll and Krabel of Essen, where Hans Krabbel and Heinrich Boll are the chief architects. They have described their task as “taking a cautious stand towards the existing architecture, abstaining from competition but rather looking for the simplest, unspectacular solutions, adequate for the place; solutions for reconstruction, extension and impro¬vement.” Thus, their architectural activity focuses on pre¬serving the historic walls and devices or just metaphorical representation of the former character of the rooms. A new guest is hardly able to notice what has been done there. Still, the Constructec is awarded for architecture and not historic preservation, which means that the work done on Zeche Zollverein XII deserves attention.

Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K200 Building
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K210 Building Technology
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:18022
Deposited On:27 Jul 2015 12:21

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