For the large majority of people, buildings dedicated to the arts are a normal feature of any city today. Ever since the 19th century, museums, theaters, and opera houses have been prominent and prestigious construction projects of urban architecture. Internationally renowned cultural centers such as Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen, Museum Folkwang and Aalto-Theater in Essen, Museum Quadrat in Bottrop, or the library and canteen of Ruhr University Bochum bear witness to the time when cities embarked on a process of renewal, and they are part of its success.
This publication tells the story of the Ruhr area as a vibrant region that constantly reinvents itself, leaving its industrial past far behind; in addition, it highlights ideas, debates, and decisions on architecture and urban planning whose consequences reverberate to this day. On the basis of plans, models, photographs, letters, print materials, and other documents from the collection of the Baukunstarchiv NRW in Dortmund, the biographies of some of these buildings are brought to life. Hidden treasures held by the archive are presented to a wider public for the very first time, illustrating in detail the great significance these cultural centers have for the cities in the Ruhr area.