Long lifespan of a protected monument

Zeche zollverein essen

The former coal mine (Zeche) in Essen, is a testament of how to preserve old industrial monuments and adapt them to a new use..

Initially scheduled for demolition, the Zollverein today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place of pilgrimage for art, culture and architecture enthusiasts. The creative center of the Ruhr area is therefore a showcase for urban development and monument preservation.

The Challenge

Over many decades, the experts at Hetzel + Sponheuer 
GmbH & Co. KG receive the physical buildings of the Zeche Zollverein for repair and maintenance. As in the 80s and 90s, the coke production was still in operation, it was mainly about normal construction and maintenance work. Later, the substance of listed and unused facilities were available at historical maintenance conditions. With the change of use of the Zollverein, the demand was strong to get the world’s cultural heritage assets for the long run and to restore them with a lot of tact.

The Solution

Since the facilities were planned and built with the intention that eventually the mining operation would be ended and the facilities made available for new uses, a precise implementation of the planning guidelines was needed. Main prerequisite for such a large project: the exact coordination with the client, in this case with the “Zollverein Building Works.”

Possibilities and feasibilities were handcrafted by the experts of our Group and scrutinized and discussed with the client. All those years, the our Group was always ready with good, experienced advice. As the headquarters of Hetzel + Sponheuer GmbH & Co. KG is also close to the mine, located in an old Zollverein industrial heritage building, short distances and thus quick arrangements were possible at any time.
The services provided by the Hetzel + Sponheuer GmbH & Co. KG are complex. Especially in the field of concrete repair and corrosion protection, we utilized our know-how from other listed industrial building projects. Also, elaborate masonry renovations were needed to let both the facade and the interior areas shine in new splendor. Special coating techniques guarantee that the substance will be protected for years to come. There were also design refinements and painting worthy to a culture and design center.

problem area
steel truss


We were able to optimally fill the interfaces between trade, technology and planning because the group consists of civil engineers, architects, craftsmen and masters who have a network of knowledge and extensive practical construction experience in these areas. So we can assure quality in all areas of planning and execution.

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  • Building preservation
  • Coating techniques
  • Masonry and facade restoration
  • Corrosion protection and painting work
  • Consulting services
  • Documentation