About the project

Big Beautiful Buildings. When we built future

Leave the past behind and create a better future — that was the defining post-war spirit. In many Europaaean countries in the 1950s to 1970s the economy was flourishing, but it was also an exceptionally innovativetime for culture, technology, and society. That era is now past, but its architecture has remained throughout Europe: new schools, universities, town halls, churches, department stores, and housing estates. These structures were built for a better future. Now they are the heritage of the past.

It is now time to embrace this heritage! Not only to make sure that the witnesses of our history will not be forgotten or disappear all together, but also because these testimonies can be an inspiration for a common future — and The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 is the ideal setting. On this occasion, in 2018 we will open the doors of architecture of the boom years to the public. Large and small, familiar or unknown, eye-catching or inconspicuous structures can be rediscovered, accompanied by comprehensive information, events, and an exchange of expertise between international professionals.

How does Big Beautiful Buildings work?

1. Discover

BBB commemorates the buildings of the economic miracle: outstanding buildings will be visibly labelled and celebrated for one year. If you cannot be there live, you can view the selected structures on BBB's website.

2. Experience

BBB opens the buildings of the boom years to the public for a limited period of time. The visitor entering these structures can experience a variety of events, such as music, sports, art, and film, which are coordinated by BBB in order to create emotional experiences in impressive architecture.

3. Understand

The event program is accompanied by widely circulated print media and online offers with a broad reach. It contains information about the project and the partners, but also many interesting facts about the buildings and their time of origin. You can also find out about events, sightseeing tours, and more.

4. Network

BBB unites numerous people in the Ruhr area, plus other European cities and regions, who are involved in the different facets of post-war modernism. This is meant to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and experience, andprovide information about examples of good practice in caring for the existing buildings. It will also create a working platform that goes beyond 2018, which will address common strategies and projects about issues related to architecture and urban planning in the 1950s to 1970s.

Where does the project take place?

The Ruhr Metropolis

BBB initially focuses on the Ruhr area. The Ruhr area is characterized more than most others by buildings and housing estate structures from the post-war period. Both the forgotten buildings and the “everyday companions” here, which people living in the Ruhr area encounter on a daily basis but will now see from a new perspective, invite the visitor to rediscover the architecture of the economic miracle. When BBB opens the doors to the public in 2018, it’s time to go on a journey of discovery and enjoy a diverse program in extraordinary architecture.


The architecture of the new era shapes both large and small cities throughout Europe on both sides of the former Iron Curtain. BBB has planned a variety of activities that demonstrate this European dimension of post-war modernism and its values as well as the different strategies of further development. They include an international congress in the fall of 2018, which will be documented in a conference transcript, and the “growing exhibition,” Open Big Beautiful Buildings, which will travel from the Ruhr area through Europe.


big beautiful buildings

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