Big Beautiful Buildings

About the project and the partners

Leave the past behind and create a better future — that was the defining post-war spirit. In many European countries in the 1950s to 1970s the economy was flourishing, but it was also an exceptionally innovative time 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 was the ideal setting. On this occasion, in 2018 we opened the doors of architecture of the boom years to the public. Large and small, familiar or unknown, eye-catching or inconspicuous structures have been rediscovered, accompanied by comprehensive information, events, and an exchange of expertise between international professionals.


How does Big Beautiful Buildings work?

1. Discover

BBB commemorated the buildings of the economic miracle: outstanding buildings have been visibly labelled and celebrated for one year. If you were not able to be there live, you can view the selected structures on BBB's website.

2. Experience

BBB opened the buildings of the boom years to the public for a limited period of time. The visitor entering these structures was able to 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 was accompanied by widely circulated print media and online offers with a broad reach. It contained information about the project and the partners, but also many interesting facts about the buildings and their time of origin. Here you can also find out about events, sightseeing tours, and more.

4. Network

BBB uniteed numerous people in the Ruhr area, plus other European cities and regions, who are involved in the different facets of post-war modernism. This was meant to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and experience, andprovide information about examples of good practice in caring for the existing buildings. 
Where does the project take place?

Where does the project take place?

The Ruhr Metropolis

BBB initially focused 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 opened the doors to the public in 2018, it was 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. 

big beautiful buildings

This is an archive page

The site was part of an international project in the context of the cultural heritage year 2018. The project was carried out by X and Y. This page and all its sub-pages will not be updated any more, but will remain as an archive.

The project documentation can be accessed here.

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