Cathedral of steel, glass and stone.
The Jahrhunderthalle Bochum stands out with its unique architecture - a cathedral-like structure made up of a total of 8 steel arch trusses. It was created in 1902 and has been supplemented over the years with modern steel and glass elements.
Today's Hall 1, for example, was originally designed as an exhibition pavilion for the 1902 Düsseldorf Industrial and Trade Exhibition. It contained a bell tower to present the most important products of the Bochumer Verein at the time. Hence its cathedral-like structure. After the hall had been returned to Bochum, the original seven truss arches of the basilica were supported with an 8th arch. After decades of use as a gas-fired power plant, the hall was converted into a festival theater for the Ruhrtriennale cultural festival by the Düsseldorf architects' office Petzinka Pink. A light-flooded foyer, modern infrastructure, and elaborate technical equipment complemented the industrial charm of the hall. Sometimes it acts as a sound chamber, and then it is a stage again. And a week later, a banquet hall.
An annual agenda such as this calls for a hall with highest flexibility. The Jahrhunderthalle Bochum was once conceived as a functional industrial building. But since its careful reconstruction by the Petzinka-Pink architects, it has been a symbol in the region and beyond of a successful crossroads between modernity and tradition.Three flexible adjustable halls offer ideal space for trade fairs and concerts, large theaters, and small experiments. Steel and glass form a gigantic portal along the entire length of the hall, which provides access to a light-flooded foyer. Here the visitor is greeted by an atmosphere of new beginnings and tranquillity. Several bars, well distributed on two levels, give the entrance a lounge character that invites you to linger.
A past that is as contemporary as this needs a stage. How wonderful, it even has one of its own.
The Jahrhunderthalle Bochum with its adjacent Westpark is one of the distinctive cornerstones of an industrial culture typical of the Ruhr area in the 21st century. Modern and open-minded, but always aware of its own roots. In this manner, the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum stands for a spirit of renewal. And for the bridge that connects the old with the new.
Bochum had just 4,000 inhabitants when Jacob Mayer made a fateful decision in 1842, which had far-reaching consequences for the city. The entrepreneur founded his "Mayer und Kühne" cast steel factory and thus ensured that industrialisation also came to Bochum. Soon the name of the company changed to "Bochumer Verein für Gussstahlfabrikation". The site was almost completely covered with production facilities. Before the Jahrhunderthalle was also located here, however, it served as an exhibition hall for the Bochumer Verein in Düsseldorf in 1902. At that time, the so-called "small World’s Fair ", an industrial and trade exhibition, took place there. The architect Heinrich Schumacher designed the hall with a view to its subsequent use on the factory premises. And indeed, the imposing building was relocated to Bochum in 1903.
Hiroshima Peace Bells come from the Bochumer Verein
As a gas power plant, the hall was to literally supply the energy for further expansion of the company. In 1920, the Bochumer Verein employed 17,000 people, and in later years even around 22,000.
The Berlin Olympic Bell, the centenary bell of St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt and the peace bells in Hiroshima are probably the most famous products of the company. During the World Wars, the Bochumer Verein was one of the largest armaments manufacturers. In the post-war years, a wide range of steel products was produced there. In 1965, the company merged with "Friedrich Krupp Hüttenwerke AG". In 1968, the very last blast furnaces were shut down and the machines in the gas power plant were demolished.
Far more than a mere industrial wasteland
After the closure of the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum, the city of Bochum and the state of NRW were looking for ways to use the immense industrial area. As a result of the handover of the approximately 34.5 hectare site to the Landesentwicklungsgesellschaft NRW (LEG), a decisive turning point took place at the end of the 1980s.
As part of a workshop, renowned planning offices were to develop a concept for the site. The first use of the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum as a venue was in 1991, as part of a joint concert performed by the Bochum Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Leipzig. The signs were already there back then, even in its unrenovated state: This place is far more than a mere industrial wasteland.
Celebrated main venue of the Ruhrtriennale
In the years to follow, the significance of the hall, which had been listed as a historical monument, for the cultural life of the region, grew steadily. It became one of the main anchor points on the "Route of Industrial Culture", which entails 25 prime examples of industrial culture. When the surrounding Westpark was opened in 1999, the plans for the conversion of the hall became more concrete.
An architectural competition was launched. The winning design of architects Petzinka Pink from Düsseldorf was based on the idea of using the industrial cathedral as a festival theater for the Ruhrtriennale. The Jahrhunderthalle Bochum has been the main venue of the Ruhrtriennale since 2003. Thanks to outstanding Ruhrtriennale productions such as Mozart's "The Magic Flute", Messiaen's "Saint Francois d' Assise", Claudel's "Der Satin Slipper ", the new production of the impressive opera "Die Soldaten" by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, which was celebrated in 2006, or the opera "Moses and Aaron", which was staged in 2009, it has become one of the most important festival theaters of the present day. Every year, it attracts many visitors from all over the world.
Celebrities, awards & co.
Together with the Westpark, however, the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum is also a popular destination for cyclists and people discovering the region on foot. Every year, the German music scene celebrates various awards ceremonies here, such as the "1Live-Krone". In addition, the hall is also the venue for well-known personalities from the world of politics and business attending galas and party conventions.
In addition, festivals take place on the grounds, attracting world-famous DJs to the city of Bochum. The Jahrhunderthalle Bochum therefore not only stands for the successful structural change of the region, but with its unique atmosphere is also a symbol of the future.