the Ruhr District’s International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA)
Wang Yueqi   May 04.2016


As a project organized by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal Government and local authorities, between 1990 and 1999 the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA) developed and implemented concepts for the ecological, economic and social renewal of the Ruhr District.

In the course of a total of 120 separate projects, the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park did not only give economic, social and cultural impetus, but especially considered the Ruhr District's lack of nature and open spaces. This led to the creation of the Emscher Landscape Park between Duisburg and Dortmund.

For industrial spaces like the present Landscape Park area, economically sustainable new usages were devised which are compatible not only with the basic ecological concept, but also with IBA's basic economic, social and cultural concepts. Today these projects are landmarks in their region and it is impossible to picture the modern townscape without them.

Reason to Be Selected

The International Building Exhibition (IBA), Emscher Park was a 10 year programme of the Land Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany, between 1989 and 1999. It was designed to initiate restructuring in the part of the Ruhr region, the Emscher, which has been suffering the most from economic, environmental and social decline for many decades. One of the Exhibition's principle features was that restructuring should take an holistic view rather than simply trying to attract inward investment and jobs. As a result the programme was based around a huge 80 km long landscape park. This report aims to introduce and critically assess the IBA, in relation to the principles of sustainability with some thoughts for the future. It begins by outlining what sustainability means for the Ruhr and Emscher regions, moving on to describe the unique nature of the Exhibition. It then considers whether or not the initiative adheres to sustainability principles and discusses the successes and failures
It is another milestone renovation project: it is a huge project to sort out the remnants of the mining industry in the Ruhr area of ​​Germany. Seventeen cities, including several major cities, participated in the project, making it the largest landscape restoration project in Europe: the slag heap was reclaimed, a 300-square-kilometer green space was created, and a 350-kilometer-long open The sewer was converted into a sanitary sewer. The adjacent land has also been transformed into a “close to nature” area. Trails preserved as an industrial heritage provide landscape nodes such as derricks and blast furnaces, as well as a range of high quality industrial structures.Thanks to the extensive experience gained in the transformation of industrial buildings through IBA, this type of retrofit can now be considered almost standard. Private investors have also been actively involved in these projects for a long time. An abandoned industrial complex has been idle for decades, and then established clubs and studios, or transformed into landscapes. Once standardized, it will have a very novel effect. Urban planning managers have therefore recognized the potential of these facilities.


Lat: 41.102
Lng: -84.0544
Region: Europe
Scale: District
Field: Compositive
City: Oberhausen