A gas container is an unlikely monument for a city to protect, but the town of Siegen in Germany has done exactly that, and not without just cause. The obsolete infrastructure reminds us of a time when gasometers helped illuminate entire towns and cities through gas lights.
In the mid-19th century, gasometers—gas containers that stored vast volumes of gas at atmospheric pressure—were at their most popular, and urban centers across Europe installed them, allowing increased productivity after sundown. The next century saw them fall into disuse, when pipe technology and underground storage became the preferred method of storage. Some massive gasometers were repurposed as commercial centers of apartment complexes, such as Vienna’s Gasometer Town.
Many of these repurposed gasometers were cylindrical, lending themselves to redesign. The spherical pattern was less common, making the one preserved at the foot of the Ziegenberg hillock in Siegen all the more rare. The huge spherical container is one of the last remaining examples in this shape today. It is protected by a riveted shell, another distinctive feature of the structure. It was moved from its original location due to construction and now—perhaps because of its round shape—plays the starring role in an art installation, depicting the Sun in a to-scale model of our solar system.
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The scaled planets are above the hill next to the gasometer.