The Gasometer

Refurbishment 2019 – 2021

From the end of October 2019 until the winter of 2021, the Oberhausen Gasometer was extensively renovated. The funding commitments from the federal government, the state and the Ruhr Regional Association made the extensive refurbishment possible.

The first item on the long list of renovation measures was the foundation. This had become brittle in one place or another over the decades. A total of 180 metres of the foundation base was exposed and, where necessary, reinforced with steel mats and concrete. A total of 60 cubic metres of concrete were used in this construction phase. At the same time, industrial climbers and a 120-metre-high special crane were used to dismantle the circulation systems, staircases and blowers.

In total, an area of 70,000 square metres had to be treated in terms of corrosion protection. This included, in addition to the dismantled elements, the entire outer shell including the roof. These renovation measures required an enormous 30,000 square metres of scaffolding, which took almost five months to completely erect. The white tarpaulins around the scaffolding, visible from afar, fulfilled two important tasks. On the one hand, they guarantee dry and constant-temperature working conditions in the coming cold and wet season, and on the other hand, the paint and metal residues from the blasting of the outer shell remain on the construction site and can thus be disposed of properly. In the course of its recent history, the gasometer had received a total of fourteen layers of paint, all of which were removed during the refurbishment.

After that, the gasometer received a primer coat of zinc dust, followed by an intermediate coat and two top coats. The top coat is composed of a grey base colour with a reddish oxide tint. According to an analysis by the LVR Office for the Preservation of Monuments in the Rhineland, this colour was already used in the past as the first top coat of the gasometer after its reconstruction in 1949.

The corrosion protection work on the roof posed a particular challenge because the load-bearing capacity of the roof structure was limited. Therefore, remote-controlled robots were used to loosen the old layers of paint by means of water jets. Afterwards, the roof was primed and finalised with a grey top coat. The underside of the roof, the interior ceiling, also had to be derusted and coated by hand. However, this was only possible with a special suspended scaffolding construction, which was mounted directly under the roof of the gasometer, at a height of almost 110 metres. This was followed by the major cleaning inside and the dismantling of the scaffolding construction on the façade, which turned out to be more time-consuming than planned.

Then, at the beginning of October 2021, the current exhibition "The Fragile Paradise" could start.

The Gasometer construction site diary shows the small and large renovation steps on the way to the reopening.