“And they built that in Gelsenkirchen …”

Architecture and Cultural Institutions in the Ruhr Since 1950

Essen | Exhibition | until 10.1.2021
+++ Please inform yourself about the current opening times. +++

Ten years after the inauguration of the new Chipperfield building at Museum Folkwang, this exhibition traces the architectural “biographies” of several important cultural institutions of the Ruhr region between 1950 and 2020. The building of the opera in Gelsenkirchen forms part of it as its architecture was internationally admired. In this way, the exhibition gives visitors access to the “hidden treasures” of the Baukunstarchiv NRW.


The exhibition at Museum Folkwang focuses on the architecture and architectural features of the cultural buildings as well as the (socio-political) ambitions and programmatic concepts associated with their realization. From 1950 onwards, numerous buildings were built in the Ruhr area as venues for the self-image of an increasingly self-confident urban society. The Baukunstarchiv NRW preserves extensive holdings on these groundbreaking building projects of the 20th century, which are now made accessible to a general public on the basis of an exemplary selection. The architects' presentation boards, competition plans, original sketches, models, handwritten notes and examples of the press echo from the construction period are shown. The exhibition conveys a broad spectrum of architectural design and presentation practice as well as future orientation, innovative strength and diversity of architectural concepts for cultural buildings in the Ruhr area.

Baukunstarchiv NRW
Anonymous, model photo of the Essen Opera (Aalto Theater), approx. 1980, architects: Alvar Aalto (design), Harald Deilmann (execution), gelatin silver print, Baukunstarchiv NRW


In the post-war period, cultural buildings played an important role as dynamic spaces for renegotiating social ideals and structures. "And something like that is in Gelsenkirchen ..." tells these stories using selected projects: In Dortmund it is the Baukunstarchiv NRW in the former Museum am Ostwall and the Natural History Museum, in Essen the Museum Folkwang, the Aalto Theater, the Oststadt community center and the reconstruction of the Grillo-Theater, in Gelsenkirchen the Musiktheater im Revier and the art museum, in Duisburg the now demolished Mercatorhalle from 1962, in Bottrop the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat.

Archiv Museum Folkwang
Photo Milch, Museum Folkwang, approx. 1965, architects: Werner Kreutzberger, Erich Hösterey, Horst Loy, gelatin silver print, Archive Museum Folkwang


Guided tours with the curators
Fri, October 2nd, 6 + 7 p.m. Anna Kloke and Christos Stremmenos
Fri, October 9th, 6 + 7 p.m. Christin Ruppio and Sonja Pizonka
Participation fee 3 € / 1.50 € / Kunstring Folkwang free.
Tickets are available at the ticket office one hour before the start of the tour. Limited places.

Publication for the exhibition
„Und so etwas steht in Gelsenkirchen.“ Kultur@Stadt_Bauten_Ruhr
In German – Appears in the series of publications of the Baukunstarchiv NRW (November 15, 2020). With articles by e.g. Niklas Gliesmann, Judith Klein, Anna Kloke, Sonja Pizonka, Judith Anne Rüther, Christin Ruppio, Christos Stremmenos, Regina Wittmann as well as a photo essay by Lukas Höhler and a directory of important cultural buildings in the area of the RVR (museums, theaters, concert halls)

And they built that in Gelsenkirchen
Architecture and Cultural Institutions in the Ruhr since 1950

11. September 2020 – 10. Januar 2021

Museumsplatz 1 | 45128 Essen

Tue, Wed 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thu, Fri 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sat, Sat 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Holidays 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Mon closed

Urban Landscapes

Reutlingen | Exhibition | until January 31, 2021
+++ Please inform yourself about the current opening times. +++

The exhibition Urban Landscapes. City and Architecture in Art on Paper from Max Beckmann to Wolfgang Mattheuer shows prints by artists who deal with the phenomenon of the city as an architectural and social entity in their work.

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