Transformer substation Recklinghausen entrance

Transformer substation aerial view

Transformer substation Recklinghausen

Umspannwerk Recklinghausen

Uferstraße 2-4, 45663 Recklinghausen

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Carl Lill

Vereinigte Elektrizitätswerke Westfalen AG

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Umspannwerk Recklinghausen

The "Museum Strom und Leben" (electricity and life) takes its visitors on a trip through time, that is, the history of electricity. On 2,000 sq m, the cultural, social and technological history is presented by using examples taken from industry, commerce, agriculture and households, showing how electricity fundamentally changed our everyday and working life.
In 1928, Vereinigte Elektrizitätswerke Westfalen AG (VEW) built the substation in Recklinghausen-Süd in accordance with plans by Carl Lill. Due to air pollution and fogs over the nearby River Emscher in variance from the then technical standards of the 1920s a closed transformer substation was planned. This technical building has been listed as an example of an industrial building from the 1920s and, within the framework of the IBA Emscher Park (construction exhibition), was renovated from 1991 to 1994 and the facade restored. The ensemble consists of the 110 kilovolt and the 10 kilovolt distribution station and an annexed house for the families of the operating staff.
After the transformer substation was shut down, the "Neue Sachlichkeit" buildings have housed the VEW’s historical centre: The electricity museum makes one hundred years of Westphalian power supply come alive.
The power generation history is documented by large exhibits like a steam engine and turbines. The historical building itself as a walkable monument offers an illustrative introduction to the technology of power distribution. In thematic complexes like household, agriculture, industry and commerce, the exhibits present the various uses of electricity and its meaning for our everyday life. The exhibited objects include various household appliances and advertising materials plus jukeboxes and a 1930s barber shop and a tramway. There is more space for exhibits outside. Other premises accommodate temporary exhibitions.
The "Historisches Zentrum" aside, the museum includes a scientific library focusing upon the history of electrical engineering and the VEW’s company archives. The latter comprise not only files and contracts but also 100,000 photographs and 30,000 negatives. The library has about 40,000 volumes that in the past were owned by Verband Deutscher Elektrotechniker (VDE; confederation of German electrical engineers) and deal with such matters. The library and the archives can be visited by prior appointment.

Auszeichnung guter Bauten 2006/2007 (BDA Münster - Münsterland), Auszeichnung

Author: Route der Industriekultur/ Editorial baukunst-nrw
Last changed on 24.10.2007


Architecture » Public Buildings » Cultural (cinemas, theatres, museums)
Engineering » Energy

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