zeche zollverein essen 02-04

book-series / documentation / identity of the ruhr region / unesco world heritage site

employer: bruce mau design (canada) in collaboration with architect rem koolhaas, the office for metropolitan architecture–oma (netherlands) and barbara vanderlinden, foundation zeche zollverein, essen (germany)

design: sarah dorkenwald, toronto (canada)

client: foundation zeche zollverein, essen (germany)


in 2002 bruce mau design hired sarah dorkenwald to lead a book documentation project on the zeche zollverein coal mine in germany, in collaboration with the foundation zeche zollverein essen.


the zollverein mine symbolizes history and new departures. shortly after its construction in 1932, it had already become the most productive mine in the world. since being shut down in 1986, it has become a shrine to industrial culture, the only one of its kind in the world, and in 2001 was designated an unesco world heritage site. rem koolhaas and oma submitted the master plan of the site as well as an in depth study of the ruhr region.


the ‘was ist zollverein’ (‘what is zollverein’) book series documents site-specific culturally relevant changes in order to create a new identity for the people who live in this particular region of germany. research and reflection of the regional controversy of history and presence, knowing and learning are implemented in a strong visual concept. sarah dorkenwald used a minimal approach to color, employing mainly green as symbol of how nature took over the site, combined with pure black and white typography. the book is produced in an oversized magazine format. it also has an open spine with a green yarn and is printed on uncoated paper. the ‘rough’ production is analogous to the open process and continuous change of the site.


volume I ‘was ist zollverein’ (masterplan by rem koolhaas)

volume II ‘zollverein 31. august 2002’ (celebration of designation as world heritage site by unesco.)