Between different interests – conservation planning for industrial heritage sites

Creator: Stefan Brueggerhoff, Kornelius Goetz and Norbert Tempel

Date: 2010

Introduction: Between different interests –conservation planning for industrial heritage sites Stefan Brueggerhoff, Kornelius Goetzand Norbert Tempel Industrial sites are increasingly being turned into monuments, both as a result of deindustrialization and because they give identity to a region and symbolize the industrialized era; sometimes, however, the conversion is simply a matter of saving the cost of an environmental clean-up. Problems associated with the maintenance of these types of monument are amplified in both character and complexity with industrial sites.They often involve a huge physical expanse and a complex structure with a complicated range of diverse materials. Moreover, such sites are often laden with toxic substances and they were never designed to last for centuries. Shortly before their shutting down, a great deal of wear and tear occurs at industrial sites for economic reasons. Between shutting down and recognition of the site as a monument, often several years of vandalism will occur. These problems might be avoided if only the heritage status of the site was identified in a more timely fashion.

After becoming a cultural heritage site, limited financial resources may be insufficient to cover the costs of proper maintenance. At the same time, access is a high priority for authorities. Maintenance and public access are thus forced into an unholy alliance. The owners of industrial monuments feel pressured to solve all of these problems at the same time. Estimating the scope of a project takes time;frequently scopes are only applicable to a limited part of the entire complex. In some cases it is deemed necessary to sacrifice the greater parts of the site in order to “save the rest”. Despite 30 years of experience with the preservation of historical industrial monuments in Germany, the current situation there is rather unsatisfying. Thus a small group of persons, involved in the preservation of industrial heritage in different ways,have come together and initiated a research project sponsored by the German Environmental Foundation, whose time scale is 2009-2011. After completion of the project, we will present a handbook (action plan) about the principles for dealing with industrial monuments including guidelines for concrete measures. Our recommendations should be applicable in principle to all industrial monuments.

Reference: Stefan Brueggerhoff, Kornelius Goetz and Norbert Tempel 2010, ‘Between different interests – conservation planning for industrial heritage sites’, Big Stuff 2010

DOI Link:

Brueggerhoff, Stefan, Goetz, Kornelius, & Tempel, Norbert. (2020). Between different interests – conservation planning for industrial heritage sites. Zenodo.
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