Council Hall in Oberhausen

Careful Restaging

The commission to redesign the council hall in Oberhausen presented brandherm + krumrey with a special challenge with regard to the architectural history of the building. The town hall of the Ruhr metropolis was built in 1930 in the style of Brick Expressionism. The then city architect, Ludwig Freitag, designed the ceiling of the council hall with a relief of cubic stucco forms. In the post-war period, this exceptional decor disappeared behind a suspended drywall ceiling and was partially destroyed in the process. As part of the renovation, the entire council hall was to be technically and aesthetically modernised, and the ceiling relief restored.

At the beginning of the renovation project, brandherm + krumrey engaged in an intensive examination of the existing structure. Based on old plans, photographs and drawings from the city archives, the decision was made to restore the architectural vocabulary of the time of construction. Restrained, contemporary furnishings and technical equipment were to showcase the historical elements of the old council hall in a new light. The concept for the redesign therefore involved a combination of restoration, reconstruction and modernisation. The ceiling and the also historical wooden wall panelling were restored and missing parts were replaced. Access to the hall was made barrier-free, the media, ventilation and sound technology were modernised and the complete furniture and lighting were replaced. As a standalone volume in the room, the new furnishings deliberately mark the interfaces between old and new to make the historical components clearly distinguishable. This design approach is further emphasised by the functional simplicity of the modern fixtures and the suspended round ceiling lights. The new colour scheme – historical transparent colours for the ceiling and clear white for the seating furniture – also sets the old apart from the new. The high lead glass windows of the council hall were also renewed, their fine geometric decor referencing the classical modernism of the original room design.

SBO Servicebetriebe Oberhausen



BST Architekten, Oberhausen

Project team
Susanne Brandherm, Andreas Jacob

Marcus Schwier

Sustainability aspects

Building in existing contexts
Conversion, modernisation and upgrading of existing spaces

People in the rooms
Creation of new and diverse room situations for different needs; clear division of usage areas; promotion of well-being; open exchange with employees and managers in the planning process for needs-based design

Spatial quality
Expansion of office spaces; measures to improve room acoustics; individual lighting concept

Choice of materials and products
Dark, calming colours; woven textiles; flooring with high percentage of recycled materials; low-energy lighting

Floor plan