When you think of coal mines, the world ‘beautiful’ is not normally the first thing that comes to mind. They’re suppose to be dirty and black, messy and industrial, a blight on the landscape. So why, when people talk about the Zollverein Coal Mine in Germany, do people applaud its aesthetics?
The first thing – and the most obvious thing – is the architecture above ground. While the dark and dirty tunnels underground are out of sight for the general public, the buildings on the surface can be seen by anyone passing through this part of the city of Essen. The owners of Zollverein were conscious of this and so they had the external buildings designed in the Bauhaus style of architecture, with a pleasant modern feel that had appealing symmetry and blended in with the natural backgrounds.