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Rote Fabrik (Red Factory) is a former factory in Zurich-Wollishofen, which is now used as a music venue and cultural center. It is so named because the buildings are made of red brick, but also because left-wing parties were part of the campaign to turn the location into a cultural center.
The Rote Fabrik was built in 1892 for the Seidenfirma Henneberg company, to a design by the architect Carl Arnold Séquin-Bronner. In 1899, the Henneberg company was taken over by the Stünzi Söhne Seidenwebereien company, based in Horgen. In 1940, the factory was taken over by the ITT Corporation. In 1972, the city acquired the factory and planned to demolish the building in order to widen the adjacent Seestrasse.
The Cultural Centre
In 1974 the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) launched a proposal to transform the factory building into a cultural center. As a result, studios have been set up for artists and cultural events were held. In 1977, voters chose for the preservation and use as a cultural center.
On 25 October 1980, the cultural centre Rote Fabrik opened. Music and theater were the focus of activities. Some independent theater groups, which gained increasing influence in the scene gave their debut at the Rote Fabrik. A referendum in 1987 decided that the Rote Fabrik should be used as an alternative cultural center and also subsidized.
In the early 1990s, the area was redeveloped. In 2002, the subsidies were adjusted to 2.3 million francs. With this money it became possible to organise more than 300 events annually. Since 2008 Dock18 is located at the location as well. Dock18 is a space for the new media culture. 2010 was the 30th anniversary celebration. The Rote Fabrik will continue to run as a collective.