The Stellwerk building (switch tower), formerly used to set coal waggons on the right line, is part of one of the coal mines of Zollverein (Essen), which have been designated as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 2002. After the shutdown of the active mining in 1986, the switch tower had lost its function.
Stellwerk Zollverein e.V. grew out of an association of company owners on the center for business start ups Triple Z AG, private donors and sponsors.
In order to restore the building, Triple Z AG applied for financial funding from the State of North Rhine Westfalia program for city districts with additional needs for renovation in 2001.
Companies on the area of Triple Z AG, who has become leaseholder of the estate, have renovated the Stellwerk by participation of unemployed building workers from a youth training program. In 2004 the building was handed over to the Stellwerk Zollverein e.V. and is now operated by the organisation, which aims to foster a culture of international exchange and social engagement in fine art by providing a suitable framework.
Former use: railway control center
Total surface of the site: 80 sq.m. living and working apartment. The former control room (28 sq.m.) with its large glass front serves as the studio. The widespread forecourt offers enough space for outside work.
Location: industrial area / suburbs
Foundation year: 2004
Type of occupation: Stellwerk Zollverein e.V. awards an international studio scholarship for fine artists each year.
Owner of the building: Triple Z AG (leaseholder), City of Essen (owner)
Infrastructures / Facilities:
• storage room
• exhibition facilities on the area
Social and artistic disciplines:
• Concept: On the area of a center for business start ups, intercultural exchange in a global perspective is happening as art work ‘in situ’. In the switch tower artists from all over the world find a temporary living and working opportunity - in the form of an annually awarded scholarship. Artistic disciplines such as object art, installation art, painting, drawing, graphic art and photography are supported.
• Procedure: A jury of qualified art experts is judging the applications according to the current announcement. The designated scholarship holder can use the studio- and living complex of the Stellwerk building free of charge. In addition Stellwerk Zollverein e.V. supports his project financially and through payments in kind. Care and support will be granted during the stay. The scholarship holder will open his studio for visitors and get the opportunity to organise an exhibition of his work at the end of the stay.
• First scholarship “Breaking new grounds”: The photo artist Laura Ribero from Colombia has lived and worked at the studio of the Stellwerk building since October 2004. She has finished her stay with the exhibition "Looking for Wonderland" in February 2005 in an empty shop site of the city district.
• Second scholarship "Import - Export: An exchange of perspectives between Japan and Germany": At the end of June 2005 the Japanese photographer and installation artist Tatsuya Higuchi has arrived at the Stellwerk. His project has the title “Ordinary way of Mrs. .../ Mr. ...”. It will deal with the issue of thoughts and memories which people connect with their daily routes through the city of Essen. This will be interpreted in a photographic work series which will be exhibited in November.
donations and membership fees