bio towers in lauchhammer, germany
bio towers in lauchhammer, germany
may 14, 2010

bio towers in lauchhammer, germany


for the first time in the world, coke which is a hard, porous carbon material made from coal, was suitably produced for smelting from lignite in this 122-hectare plant in germany. this technologically demanding procedure became the foundation of GDR’s heavy industry. in 1991, prior to being shut down, 15,000 workers were employed at this coking plant. in the production of coke, large amounts of phenolrich waste water was also created and purified in the so-called tower dripper waste water purification facilities with the help of  bacteria inside the bio-towers.

bio towers in lauchhammer, germany



the bio towers in lauchhammer, germany were built around a central staircase in sets of four. originally the towers were used to purify wastewater from the town’s coking plant by way of internal trickling filters. the IBA and the country’s monument preservation authorities believed that demolishing the bio-towers would represent a huge and irreplaceable loss to lauchhammer’s identity and to the memory of the first lignite coking plant in germany.

bio towers in lauchhammer, germany 24 of these decommissioned towers are next to the road in lauchhammerimage © jürgen hohmuth, courtesy of  kulturland brandenburg


the renovations and conversions took about two years. based on a plan by the cottbus firms jähne & göpfert and zimmermann & partner, one of the towers was also equipped with two glazed building turrets to give visitors a special view of the towers and the former coking plant site. in the area directly around the towers, the coking plant’s old geometrical grid structure has been recreated in concrete crosses to show visitors how the bio-towers were once part of a much larger facility.

bio towers in lauchhammer, germany



these days, the structures are used to educate people about the area’s industrial history through guided tours, exhibitions and recently a glass-sided viewing box has been attached to the top of some of the columns to offer an elevated view of the complex. in 2009, the renovated towers were awarded both the brandenburgischer ingenieurspreis and the region’s own prize for listed structures. they are also on the ‘ENERGIE heritage route of lusatian industrial culture’ which is a part of the ‘european route of industrial heritage’ (ERIH) tourism project.

bio towers in lauchhammer, germanythe bio-towers industrial monument finally opened for visitors in 2008.

bio towers in lauchhammer, germany

bio towers in lauchhammer, germany

bio towers in lauchhammer, germany the open-cast mine ceased production in 1999

  • Reminds me of a medieval castle – could a great hotel or something out of them – what do they look like from the inside?

    Dr. Design says:
  • amazing…when did industry and architecture get divorced?

    a.d.k.v says:
  • The McMillan Sand Filtration Site in Washington, DC features some similarly fascinating tower structures.

    A landmark achievement of both architecture and technology when built in the early 1900s, McMillan provided the Nation’s Capital with its first purified drinking water. The towers functioned as sand silos for the gravity sand filtration facility below.

    This public works facility was designed to be an integral part of the community and was designated “McMillan Park” by President Taft. Gardens were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. and were enjoyed by generations of Washingtonians for romantic strolls, neighborhood baseball games, and a cool respite from DC’s intense summer heat.

    The site is currently in danger of demolition in the name of “development.”

    Please visit for more information.

    Robin Buck email: robin_buck at says:
  • agree it certainly looks midieval. im also curious about the interior looks.

    eder says:
  • AMAZING WORK [url=]louis VUITTON[/url]

    WORK says:

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