Zollverein: archistars must behave

In these hours we are all seeing the shocking images from Duisburg Love Parade stampede. It looks as something went horribly wrong security-wise and I share the view of Dr Motte: such events need careful planning, cannot be improvised every year in a different location since crowd control must be very specific, experience is key and the Berlin Love Parade had not less than 10 gates, with the Tiergarten as a buffer.

I think it is a stupid thing to stop the Love Parade. Stopping incompetent, greedy people to manage it, yes. Let’s hope that the people responsible for gross underestimations are nailed down. But also that the Love Parade continues in its truest spirit. I will spare you the stupid comments done today by a überidiot Italian journalist, blaming this youth devoided of values blah blah…it is so mean that I don’t even want to discuss about it.

Having said that we had a GREAT experience in the Ruhr Region (with excellent crowd control and security, yes, during the A40 Still Leben mega-party from Duisburg to Dortmund) and we want to share what great days we had travelling through the region celebrating its Capital of Culture status.

So we started from Zollverein, the topmodel of coal-washing and colliery plants. It is a Unesco site, and its magnificience is enhanced by the greenery around. The cooling towers are the Ruhr’s landmarks and this one in Zollverein stands out in all its iconic power now.

Archistars behave. Yes because the original bauhaus architects are celebrated here first. Those able between 1928 and 1932 to think plan and execute on such a grand scale this modern plant: Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer. So in 1997 Norman Foster converted the former boiler house into the Design Centre North Rhine-Westphaliain. And today there are escalators and stairs by Rem Koolhaas.

The great Dutch had to limit himself to the humble refurbishment of escalators and stairs. Period. He stroke with color and his take on the flowing melted steel is poetic. But no mammooths are around.

The Japanese architects San’aa were even more subtle. A big cube of concrete plays lady-in-waiting to the plant, it is massive but once you enter it completely disappears, or rather, it turns inside out. Its massive asymmetrically scattered square windows are eyes on the plant. The whole building turns into a system of frames. Framing miners houses. Gazometers. Cooling towers. Framing the industrial and urban landscape around. What a fantastic building.

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