Sunday, October 11, 2009

Industrial Nature at the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin

Industrial Nature is a concept that originated in Germany – particularly with the deindustrialisation of the Ruhr (Zollverein for example is a good example of such a site). The term refers to three things – the revegetation of industrial sites by native species, the colonisation of industrial sites (working or abandoned) by species adapted to the new environment created by industry and the deliberate plantings on industrialised sites.

The Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Technical Museum) at the former locomotive workshops and goods yard (Anhalter Güterbahnhof) of Berlin-Anhalt Railway Company. The workshops were closed in 1952 but it is not clear when the goods yard was closed. The Museum began using the site in 1987 – naturally it houses a display of railway locomotives and associated items.

There are two roundhouses around two turntables and if you look at Google Maps you can see gaps in one of the roundhouses which are described as follows

“A group of three overgrown tracks in the first engine shed provide a reminder that the site lay abandoned for thirty years. The plants growing here include the Mahaleb cherry (normally a Mediterranean plant), giant knotweed (a native of Siberia) and the medicinal herbs evening primrose and lady’s mantle.”

This is what they were talking about - the abandoned tracks have been colonised.

Below is another example of a ruined building next to the roundhouse simply being left for nature to colonise.

This is a interesting management technique one that could meet both industrial and nature conservation goals without the “prettying up” of sites that often occurs.

The Museum also preserves trains – this is an example of the V-200 class of diesel hydraulic locomotives in service from 1957 to 1984 and cosmetically restored.

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