With the opening of the Grand Hall Zollverein in early 2017, Zollverein provides a new state-of-the-art event centre with supra-regional recognition. The conversion was funded by private investment and is operated under a leasehold contract with “Grand Hall GmbH”. The venue includes two buildings on the white side of the coking plant, which were historically used as an extraction and compressor hall, and an electricity distribution station. Both buildings were designed by Fritz Schupp and erected in 1958. The name Grand Hall derives from the fact that the (pillar-less) space on the first floor is the largest indoor space within the Zollverein coking plant, at 20 m wide by 90 m long. Different room sizes can be combined flexibly; the venue has a maximum space of 4,000 sqm with a maximum capacity of approximately 2,500 persons (depending on the particular use), comprising a mixture of seating and standing places. With its size and capacity the Grand Hall fills a gap in event locations in the Ruhr region.
Many of the original machines and pipes were highly contaminated, including by volatile hydrocarbons that are dangerous to human health and environmentally harmful. Thus, following Zollverein's general concept of conservation through reuse, the challenge lay in achieving an appropriate balance between the manner and intensity of use, including considerations of economically efficient and long-term environmental protection and the need for site remediation (i.e., removal or cleaning of contaminated machinery, etc.); and conservation interests, in particular the building's outstanding universal value. Nevertheless, an enormous proportion of the building's features, including machinery and equipment, were preserved in situ during the conversion: A large area of the ground floor, containing a dense network of pipes and machinery, was encapsulated in glass and preserves functional interrelations, traces of use, and sensual experiences of the former function.
Long-term perspective: The Grand Hall gains its synergy from the preserved building structures and restaged machines and equipment, and from filling the supply gap for event venues in the region.