Beginning in the 1950s, playful architectural experiments and technological optimism led to a boom in steel construction and new construction systems. Compared to the widespread concrete buildings, steel structures have not received much attention in the current debate about the preservation, protection, and conversion of postwar architecture, especially in the Ruhr area in Western Germany. This book aims to stimulate a broad debate about this issue among experts and the public. Its authors investigate developments in steel construction and postwar structural engineering from the vantage point of architectural history, look at particular buildings in North Rhine–Westphalia such as the Hoesch bungalows, and explore the development of construction systems used to build many post-1945 structures.
In addition, this book wants to inspire new ideas and assess the benefits and future potential of sustainable steel construction. By bringing together expertise on regional history, architectural history, structural engineering, and the preservation of historic landmarks, the selected contributions included in this publication attempt to shed light on this little-known and frequently hidden aspect of postwar architecture, put it in context, and open up a discussion about what can be done with existing structures.
The book is intended for all those who face the challenge of evaluating, preserving, restoring, and using such buildings, showing them how to conserve the specific structural and material characteristics of these “steel boxes” and offering them fresh perspectives on steel construction.