Today I had the opportunity of visiting the Zollverein coal plant in Essen for the second time with some close friends.
This second visit offered an entirely new perspective on the complex through comparison of the initial visit. This time it was not inhabited by a festival as it was during the first experience. Straight away I was recognizing elements that were simply covered and hidden by the mass of people, the main example being a 3D site plan map made out of steel near to the entrance of the museum. I was really interested in this informative representation and made a comparison to the blind touch map we had discovered while in Milan.
On this visit I paid even more attention to the importance of circulation in the vertical. This is a focus that remains very important in the work of OMA and has been discussed in books and through the creation of realized works. In this case the existing function of the industrial coal mine lent itself to the pre developed concepts of the architects involved. Vertical circulation is of extreme importance in the location, excavation, and extraction of the coal which lies at the heart of this industrial hot spot. The entry into the factory, now museum, is made possible through a long escalator up to the visitors centre found at 24 meters. On this trip you glide past other conveyor belts, up through the complex, and in a way, become part of it. The floor layers are displayed in height (m) with the ground line as 0 which further brings importance to the vertical nature of the mine. From the visitors centre you descend down to the permanent exhibition through a staircase which seems to ricochet, back and forth, off of the existing structure, emitting a soft orange glow into the large dark concrete space. You arrive at the next level (17m) a horizontal plane, after each layer you are brought back to the stairs and reminded of the mines verticality.
I also want to point out that it remains very important for me to only make reference to or utilize real experiences of architectures to form my own personal opinions. Of course I am influenced by different books and readings and content found on the internet, but the departure points for my discussions always involve real experiences, rather then second source information.
Consumed on Jan 29th, 2012
With 14 notes