The Beckerturm, or Becker Tower, is the iconic landmark of the city of St. Ingbert in Saarland. It was built between 1925 and 1931 in the style of the New Architecture. The architect Hans Herkommer designed the tower, now a listed historic monument, as the brewhouse for the local brewery, Brauerei Gebrüder Becker. Today, the 71,000 m² former brewery site is home to a business park, the “Innovationspark am Beckerturm”.
Herkommer’s body of work includes well over one hundred architectural projects built between 1909 and 1956, including many noteworthy church buildings. The brewhouse of St. Ingbert’s Becker brewery is his most important industrial building. In addition to the tower, Herkommer also designed the lower buildings adjoining it and a flat-roofed, L-shaped building housing the dispatch area and taproom (1930/1931).
The nine storeys of the 42-metre-high Becker Tower housed the machinery, equipment and vessels for the brewery’s production processes, and featured a brewery pub on the top floor with an outdoor terrace above. The monumental structure built of exposed concrete is articulated by severe ornamentation with expressionist elements. It tapers towards the top, thus reducing its visual weight. At the base, its emphasis is on the vertical: tall and narrow slotted windows allow views into the production area while also illuminating the lower part of the building after dark. On the upper section, a group of three projecting horizontal elements wrap around the corners, embracing red-framed windows. And a series of protruding horizontal bands combine the decorative with the functional: they protect tanks of chilled water from direct sunlight.
Herkommer also designed the furniture in the director’s office and the interior furnishings of the beer pub along with the doors and lamps. Much of the original furnishings can still be seen today. And technical elements have also been preserved in the brewing hall. The brewhouse’s original raised platform, stair treads, yellow-tiled wall wainscoting, blue-tiled columns and green ceiling decoration are meanwhile part of the interior of the restaurant now housed inside. Following refurbishment in the 1990s, the complex was converted into a business innovation park. Today, the upper floors of the tower house studios, exhibition spaces and Saarland’s Carnival Museum. [KL/DK]