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Gutehoffnungshutte Depot

Oberhausen, Germany
1 of 2
Entry to the warehouse

In 1920 several well-known architects among them, Peter Behrens and Bruno Mohring were asked by GHH, a German mining company to take part in a competition to build a central warehouse and administrative building for its premises. Peter Behrens won the commisssion, mainly due to the aestetic and representational qualities of his design. Mohring's proposal proved to be more apt from a functional point of view and before Behrens was granted the commission he was asked to adapt his designs to improve the functional aspects.

The building works started almost immediately. The complex was built between 1921 and 1925. For the foundation an approximately 90 cm thick concrete slab was with expansion joints was used to protect the building from potential mining damages. The supporting structure consists of a steel frame for which approximately 1,000 tons of steel were used that were produced by GHH itseld. The facade is a relatively unadorned brick wall. However the bricks which were selected by Behrens himmself were of a special format ("Klosterformat", ie. monastery format) and led to an extra cost.

The elongated main body of the building is divided by two staircases and lift towers in two equal-sized wings and a wider middle section. The dominant architectural form is the cube underlined by the set of square windows which decorate the facade. The approximately 86 m wide and about 25 m high building has six, respectively seven floors, whose mass decreases towards the top. In contrast to the other floors, the facade of the two upper floors is plastered and recessed. The seventh floor is only hinted at, at the upper end of the lift towers. In the the front and back of the building covered ramps are added for goods deliveries and further transport by rail.

The warehouse has survived the Second World War without major damage. In the following years, the GHH Group was dismantled and and as a consequence of the structural changes in the steel industry, the industrial site was closed. The depot was declared a historical monument in 1989 and not demolished when the former steel mill site was cleared out to create an open space for the projected new center of Oberhausen. In 1993, the Behrens building was acquired by the state and transformed into a museum. Today, the "LVR Industriemuseum" is located there.

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  1. Wikipedia (In German)
ludmilla, October 11th, 2011
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