Centre brings art and innovation to Dortmund city centre
A former brewery tower has been transformed into a thriving centre for arts and creativity thanks to major funding from the European Regional Development Fund. The “Dortmund U” building was derelict for almost 20 years, but now houses a range of cultural assets including a cinema, museum and exhibition spaces.
The U tower was constructed in 1926-1927, but eventually fell into disuse until 2008 when work began on converting the listed building. Phase one of the scheme was for renovation of the building structure. This work was urgently needed regardless of future use in order to make the tower safe. Funding for the renovation itself was provided solely by the City of Dortmund.
Work on phase two began at the same time as the building renovation work and was for the conversion of seven floors to house the arts and creativity centre. The centre first opened its doors in 2010 and the conversion and final outfitting were largely completed in March 2011.
The centre is promoted as a space where the visual and media arts, academia, education and the digital economy can come together to generate knowledge and innovation that can benefit the tourism and creative sectors, as well as the region’s wider economy. The renovation and development of the centre also improves the environment around Dortmund Central train station, the city centre and the Rheinische Strasse urban redevelopment area.
The U Tower houses a varied mix of organisations and facilities. The ground floor hosts the RWE U Forum cinema which, along with providing a regular film programme, offers space for seminars, lectures and international conferences.
The first floor is occupied by the Technical University of Dortmund and the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, while the second floor is taken up by the Centre for Cultural Education in the Digital Age. The Hartware Media Art Association has taken residence on the third floor and part of the sixth floor. Floors four and five are home to exhibits and collections from the Ostwall Museum.
Visiting exhibitions and events are provided with space on floors six and seven. The seventh floor is also given over to a restaurant, and the U Tower’s roof terrace provides visitors with great views of the Dortmund skyline.
City of Dortmund safeguards the long-term sustainability of the centre by providing on-going public funding. This project is expected to generate 220 jobs during the implementation phase and 126 permanent jobs once it is finished.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project "Dortmunder U - Centre for arts and creativity 2nd Phase" is EUR 56 133 002, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 22 895 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. The project falls under the Regional Operational Programme for North Rhine-Westphalia, priority “Regional Competitiveness and Employment”.