Katre  aussen Roechlin3

Katre aussen Roechlin3
Copyright: Weltkulturerbe völklinger Hütte / Karl Heinrich Veith


Rathausstraße, built in 1954/55 under the French military administration, housed diverse divisions of the factory, including the construction department and a bank branch. The building met all the requirements of its day. The reinforced concrete skeleton construction method was inexpensive, sound, and enabled a short construction phase. The spatial arrangement adhered to the US model with open-plan offices, meeting rooms, and private offices only for the department heads, as well as functional features such as a sound absorption system, double-glazed windows, and ceiling heating. The seven-storey building was an epitome of the modern working world, and was intended to be both representative as well as an enrichment to the cityscape. The two lower floors initially housed a branch of the Banque nationale pour le commerce et l'Industrie (BNCI), which, following the end of World War II, had taken administrative receivership of the Saarbrücken-based Bankhaus Röchling [Röchling Bank]. With the integration of Saarland into the Federal Republic, the receivership was lifted and Bankhaus Röchling was able to resume its business activities, including in Völklingen.

While financial treasures were stored in safe deposit boxes in the basement of the bank, treasures of a completely different kind were found in the factory casino, which was constructed as an attached twin building in 1960. Housing a storeroom for 20,000 bottles of wine, a state-of-the-art kitchen, restaurants and lounges, eight hotel rooms and a bowling alley, the casino was perfect for social gatherings and lavish celebrations—especially for lobbyists. Behind the walls of the representative building, the plant management received high-ranking personalities from business and politics, such as Willy Brandt or Hans-Dietrich Genscher. The third floor and above were less lively than the lower part of the building because, like the sister building, they housed offices of the ironworks.


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