History

„Art in parallel to nature.“
(Guiding principle of the Hombroich Foundation)

The Rocket Station Island Hombroich is part of the visionary project by the collector Karl-Heinrich Müller (1936–2007), with the intention of fostering a unique synthesis of art and nature on a “small neglected piece of earth” in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

For decades the property located along the Erft River near the German town of Neuss, which was not noted on any maps, served defence purposes for NATO and also the storage of warheads for cruise missiles and Pershing rockets. In 1992–93 the facility was abandoned in the course of disarmament agreements between NATO states and the former USSR. In 1994, Karl-Heinrich Müller purchased the thirteen-hectare-large area and initiated – together with Erwin Heerich, Oliver Kruse, and Katsuhito Nishikawa – a unique project dedicated to culture and artistic space.

Müller recultivated the property, turning it into a place of culture, science, and nature. Here the idea was not to erase the history of the location, but rather to give it a new face and to lend it new purpose. Military elements like barbed-wire fences, floodlight systems, and bulletproof glass were done away with. Though the storage facilities, hangars, bomb-shelter systems, earthen walls, and the observation tower all remained in place, they were renovated and in certain cases also remodelled. New buildings by Heerich and Nishikawa complemented the existing ensemble, as did sculptures by Heinz Baumüller and Eduardo Chillida.

Following an invitation by Karl-Heinrich Müller, Tadao Ando visited the Rocket Station in 1994 and experienced its original state. Enthusiastic about Müller’s plans, Ando developed an architectural model that also ended up becoming part of the project. This culture and artistic-space project was introduced at the Venice Biennale in 1996 and has now been realised in its essential aspects.

The Rocket Station Hombroich and the Museum Island Hombroich merged in 1997 to form the Island Hombroich Foundation, today forming the Hombroich cultural space: a dynamic ensemble of art, culture, science, and nature that pursues a path of continual development.

Additional Information: www.inselhombroich.de