The GBS Cultural Centre was opened in 1998 in the former buildings of the Greven Cotton Mill (GBS) on Friedrich-Ebert-Straße in Greven, which was closed down in 1993.
The centre houses Greven’s largest event space, the Ballenlager, which opened in 2000, the event space Kulturschmiede (in the former smithy ) as well as the music school, the adult education centre and a youth café in the former boiler house.
On the upper floor of the forge and the administration building, educational institutions are working, which are primarily concerned with the integration of young people into the labour market. On the ground floor of the administration wing, Lebenshilfe e. V. has been given new rooms. In the porter’s lodge of the administration building a children’s group of Lebenshilfe is accommodated.
At the end of 2006, the last phase of the conversion of the Greven cotton spinning mill was completed. A children’s, youth and cultural centre opened in the former Karderie. As a central contact point for young people, the Karderie offers both recreational and cultural activities for young people. In addition, employees of the facility are dedicated to Greven’s district youth work.
The ensemble consists of the renovated, historically most interesting building parts of the factory complex grouped around an inner courtyard. The extensive manufacturing halls of the textile factory were demolished.
After a fire in 1900, the factory buildings were fundamentally rebuilt from 1913 onwards according to the plans of the Stuttgart industrial architect and building councilor Philipp Jakob Manz (1861-1936). The First World War caused considerable delays, and so construction dragged on until 1927. Despite considerable reconstruction work between 1930 and 1970, the typical architectural details of the buildings were preserved and have been conserved by the current renovation work.
The dust tower in the northwest (1913) today serves as a staircase. It looks like a corner tower of the card room stretching to the north, a two-storey flat building with high cast-iron mullioned windows.
Directly next to it rises the gable of the boiler house built in 1927. A brick red chimney rises far above the 18-metre-high gable of the boiler house. It stands free in the northeast corner of the inner courtyard. As the last of many “smoking chimneys” that once characterised the Greven townscape, it has been preserved. However, in the course of the conversion to the GBS cultural centre, the upper metres had to be removed for safety reasons.
At right angles to the Karderie-Kesselhaus line, the inner courtyard is bordered to the east by the former administration building from 1920. Exactly in the angle between the boiler house and the administration building, somewhat hidden behind the chimney, is the entrance to a two-storey low building that is barely visible from the inner courtyard. It housed a forge and locksmith’s shop on the ground floor and laboratories on the upper floor.
The old forge in the former smithy was preserved during the renovation and modernisation of the event hall Kulturschmiede
The former warehouse, a single-storey building with a hipped roof, nestles around the south-eastern corner of the 1920 bale warehouse and continues along the south façade, becoming narrower and narrower
The bale warehouse itself is an imposing brick hall with a hipped roof with a floor area of approx. 30 × 15 m and is 16 m high. The facades are divided by pilaster strip-like pillars of red brick; recessed and made of light-coloured stone were the fields between them, in the upper fifth of which narrow windows above a graceful window ledge and below a projecting roof cornice let light into the large warehouse
The west façade of the bale warehouse is not built at right angles to the other outer walls, but follows the former course of the Ems. The river was the western boundary of the GBS property until it was straightened and embanked between 1952 and 1955.
Connected to the north façade of the bale warehouse by a short entrance area, but clearly set off from it both structurally and stylistically, a modern low-rise building was erected with the artists’ dressing room required for the event space.