Bergbau Museum
Udo Kowalski

Bergbau Museum

Benthem Crouwel Architects as Architects

The Deutsches Bergbau-Museum (German Mining Museum) lies in the heart of the Ruhr Area, in the city of Bochum. The museum is one of the most important mining museums and one of the most popular museums in Germany. The current museum draws around 400.000 visitors annually to its 12.000 square metres of exhibition space.


The new building, a 1.795-square-metre extension, is linked to the existing structure by bridges. The extension houses temporary exhibits (and research presentations) and the existing permanent collection devoted to Saint Barbara, the most important guardian saint of miners. The new building reflects a cross-section of a mine: a solid, dark, black cube with illuminated passages and mine shafts. Coal inspired the rough, black surface of the facade. The colour of the passageways ranges from white to light orange and deep red. The building looks like it was extracted straight from a mine. A clearly marked route from inside to outside avoids any dead ends.

Extension of Deutsches Bergbau-Museum

CROSS Architecture as Architects

Museum building – the museum as tangible exhibit
The design takes up mining-related themes – a massive volume, which is penetrated by passageways, tunnels and ramps, lets the museum become a large cutaway model and self-referential exhibit. The visible “tunnel system” interconnects the internal exhibition halls and offers the visitors views to the city – a piece of identity for the Ruhr area is manifested in a building, which has won several architecture awards.

 

Mining experience
This building ought to be fun! About 400,000 people come to the mining museum every year, and for many schools a visit to the museum is a fixed component of their curriculum. The children not only take along the experience of mining, but also an architectural experience, and they enjoy discovering the exhibition due to the unusual circulation concept.

 

Monolith with recesses
The column-free interiors were stipulated by the user, while the glazed recesses along the circulation tunnels are a consequence of the design concept. In an integral, partnership-based planning process with specialist planners, we conceived the building as a monolithic box with pile foundation, where walls, ceilings and the roof form a homogeneous support structure.

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