Kraftzentrale/Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord



Music: Andreas Schett, Markus Kraler
Director, Libretto: Sven-Eric Bechtolf

The three blast furnaces of the Aktiengesellschaft für Hüttenbetrieb, founded by August Thyssen in the north of Duisburg in 1902, began production the following year. By the year 1908, the 200-hectare site was home to five blast furnaces as well as a pit, a sintering plant, a coking plant and a foundry.

After the last shift had clocked off on 4th April 1985, a last minute action by local citizens succeeded in saving the plant from destruction. True to the philosophy of the international building exhibition IBA (1988-1999), the further development of this industrial landscape was to be determined by considerations of culture, tourism, recreation, environmental protection and ecology. The former halls of industry – the central power plant, blasting hall and foundry – were converted into impressive locations for theatre, dance and music.

The Gebläsehalle or blasting hall forms part of the former steam blasting plant, a complex dating back to the works' beginnings. It is 50 metres long by 12.4 metres wide and still contains four of the electric turbo compressors used to produce the furnace blast needed to smelt iron-ore. The neo-Romanesque semicircular windows and ornamental friezes below the eaves are typical of the historical-representative style of the period. The neighbouring pump house supplied the blast furnaces with cooling water. A compressor house was added in the 1950's. In 2002, Dortmund architects Rjamsfell converted the Gebläsehalle into a multifunctional theatre with seating for up to 700 people. They installed a new floor level in the 25 metre high space, thus raising the level of the actual theatre (new ceiling height 17.7 meters) and allowing access to the turbines, switch cabinets and slide units beneath the stage. The Gebläsehalle has already hosted RuhrTriennale productions by directors such as Robert Wilson (The Temptation of St. Anthony) and Peter Brook (Tierno Bokar).

The Kraftzentrale or central power plant was built between 1906 and 1911 during the period of expansion from three to five furnaces. 170 metres long, 35 metres wide and 20 metres high, it is one of the largest industrial buildings in the Ruhr District. Its six gas blowers produced furnace blast and ten high power gas engines, powered by blast furnace gas, once drove the dynamos producing electricity for the plant as well as for the adjacent works housing. In 1965 the machines fell silent and were later scrapped. The hall itself was used to store equipment right up to the mid-Eighties. In 1997, after a seven-month long overhaul, the Kraftzentrale reopened its doors as a multifunctional location for cultural events. Depending on the type of production, it has a capacity of between 500 and 6000. The events hosted here have included the RuhrTriennale productions Wolf by Alain Platel and Franz Schubert's Winterreise with Christine Schäfer


Emscherstr. 71
47137 Duisburg