Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

Maschinenhalle Zweckel, Gladbeck

Maschinenhalle Zweckel, Gladbeck

Frentroper Straße 74

45966 Gladbeck


At first glance, the machine hall of the former Zweckel colliery built in 1909 does not look much like an industrial plant. 126 metres long, the symmetrically designed building reminds one more of a palace. This is hardly surprising given that the monarchist Prussian state which commissioned the hall had a particular interest in asserting its own claim to authority. The impression is even more marked today, now that the chimneys and cooling towers which once identified this site as a place of production have disappeared, leaving the machine hall standing alone. The only direct reminders of the mining age are the remaining pit head lifts dating back to 1911/12.

The situation inside the hall is just as fragmentary, with few engines left to evoke memories of the machine park that once supplied the mine with fresh air and electricity.

The high esteem in which the machinery was held is reflected by the representative decoration of the interior. The walls were originally covered with decorative panels and ornamental friezes. Recent investigations have revealed that the hall was decorated twice: upon completion in 1910 and again some time probably before World War II. Some idea of the decoration may be gained from the two sections of paintwork on the north and south sides, which show restorations of the original work.

The design of the gallery is especially impressive, flanked by sweeping stairways and with wrought-iron balustrades. The stair posts in particular deserve attention with their fan-like ornamentation of iron bands, bunched together into cubic forms. The paintings and the interior architectural detailing form a whole which may be placed somewhere between historicism and genuine Art Nouveau.

In 1929, Zweckel was merged with the Scholven colliery. In 1963 Scholven/Zweckel was closed. In the years from 1960 to 1980, the surface buildings at Zweckel were gradually demolished. The industrial monument has been in the care of the Stiftung Industriedenkmalpflege und Geschichtskultur (Foundation for the Preservation of Industrial Monuments and Cultural History) since 1997. The foundation has restored the site with the support of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Gladbeck, turning it into an exciting new venue. From its beginnings in 2002, artists performing at the RuhrTriennale such as Bill Frisell, Lisa Bassenge, Marc Ribot and the Vienna Art Orchestra have helped make the Maschinenhalle Zeche Zweckel an attractive location for lovers of the arts.

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