Post-Industrial Nature in the Coal Mine of Gottelborn, Germany: The Integration of Ruderal Vegetation in the Conversion of a Brownfield

Justina Drexler

Department of Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning, TU Munchen


This paper describes a design project that illustrates the integration of rud­eral vegetation in the conversion of a mining brownfield in the Saarland, Germany. The coal mine of Gottelborn is located on the periphery of the state capital of the Saarland, 15 km north of Saarbrucken. Gottelborn is situated on the northern outskirts of the peri-urban Saarkohlenwald wood­lands and represents one of the main industrial zones in the Saarland. Unlike other industrial regions, the Saarkohlenwald offers a sparse and ru­ral settlement structure (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1. The landscape of Saarkohlenwald (photo: Wendl)

In the context of an industrial heritage network organised by the Com­mission “IndustrieKultur Saar” of the state government of Saarland, the pit frame of Gottelborn presents a highly visible landmark and stands as a tes­timony to the latest industrial architecture (IndustrieKultur Saar 2000).

Not only are the prominent buildings of Gottelborn a part of the indus­trial heritage, but also the huge changes in the landscape created by the mining activities. Some of these changes, such as the former sinking pond

Kowarik I, Korner S (eds) Wild Urban Woodlands.

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005, pp 277-286

and the mine slagheap are now outstanding landmarks. The sinking pond, today filled in with mine spoil, represents a black PLAIN in contrast to the surrounding landscape of the Saarkohlenwald woodlands. The mine slag – heap, 50 m above the pond, is at the same height as the natural westward ridge and constitutes a landscape sculpture.

In conjunction with another sinking pond, the Kohlbachweiher, which is 120 m below and located to the south of the mine slagheap, these land­scape formations have modified the original shape of the ancient valley (Deutsche Steinkohle AG 2000; Fig. 2). The changes in the landscape by mining activities result a spatial arrangement of "MOUNTAIN-PLAIN – VALLEY".


Fig. 2. Section of the landscape formation MOUNTAIN—PLAIN—VALLEY at Gottelborn


Updated: October 18, 2015 — 5:26 am