If you are into industrial heritage sites, then the Ruhrgebiet in West-Germany is one of the best places to go. It is the centre of the coal industry of Germany, but some of the factories have been closed down during the past few decades. Some of these sites have been recognized as part of the industrial heritage of Europe. One of these sites is Zollverein in Essen, which is part of Unesco World Heritage and renovated by OMA.
As mentioned, Zollverein used to be a coal mining plant. The site consists of three parts that each have a new destination now. The first is the coal mining part, this has turned into a museum and there are tours through the building explaining what used to happen there.
The new entrance to the museum is a long escalator created by OMA. The colors for the intervened items are orange, which is a nice contrast and reminds you of glowing coals.
There is a staircase inside the entrance hall (on the 14th floor) that leads to the museum entrance.
I haven’t been inside the museum, but we did get the tour around the whole building, which was really interesting and the guide really new his stuff.
Bonus activities are the building by Sanaa, which was designed as a university, but is currently getting new functions and the other parts of the grounds, one of them is where the coal was turned into coke and it has an ice skating rink in the winter and a ferris wheel.
Inside the main building there is also a special information point on the rest of the interesting projects of the Ruhrgebiet. The entrance has models of interesting projects in the staircase.
So if you are looking for something to do in the Ruhrgebiet, Zollverein is definitely a project to look into! The tours are very interesting and can be tailored to your groups interests and the other activities look like a lot of fun too.