Dipl. Ing. Tomas Grohé
Industriekultur in the Ruhr -
15 Years of a Strategy to Linking the Industrial Past,
the Structurally Changing present and
the Dreamed Sustainable Future.
Intervention to the Seminar "Territory, Industry and Housing. Policies of Valorization of European Modernist and Industrial Environment"
Gelsenkirchen/Ivrea, September 2003
The 15 years proceeding leads to messages as follow:
- IBA had 10 years to deal with a detailed selection of different monuments (buildings, machines, places, parks).
- the intention was to maintain typical monuments as examples of the former use ("Industrial Heartland of Europe") and to change some of them into symbol carriers of the new Ruhr by implementing and internationally communicating completely new and spectacular uses.
- A second element of the strategy was to "let monuments become older in dignity": that means to simply maintain them as they are and wait till a new idea for a new use is born or a new investor became a fan of a certain location's spirit (genius loci).
- The success was great and some of these monuments became new value due to their innovative uses and communication.
- But problems are growing, too due to the miserable financial situation of cities and state. So a long termed strategy of financing a minimum should be given. The minimum is to continuously pay for a small taskforce to communicate and guarantee a certain number of qualified events...
- The combining of most of the important monuments in a "Route of Industrial Culture" helps for a better marketing and shows the regional attractiveness by pointing out the individual characters to demonstrate the huge variety of industrial heritage.
- Most important of all is to avoid any degrading kind of "banalization" and marginalization of these topoi by guaranteeing a certain quality (esthetically, socially, culturally, formally and simple physically!) and by combining both international cultural highlights and "every day culture" for the people living around.
- Second track of the "double strategy" is the qualified integration into a regional and local development strategy of communication, planning and allocation of new investments...