Logo Wehrhahnlinie
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Spatial Conception, Raeumliches Konzept, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Joerg Hempel
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Thomas Stricker
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Thomas Stricker
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Thomas Stricker
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Thomas Stricker
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten

Heaven Above, Heaven Below

Thomas Stricker

Through a conceptual inversion of the space surrounding the architecture, Thomas Stricker has brought the universe, with its planets and stars, its tranquility and weightlessness into the underground world of the subway station. In cooperation with netzwerkarchitekten, the interior design of a spaceship was developed for the station. A stainless steel embossed matrix covers the walls, interrupted by large panoramic windows in the form of multi-media displays. These screens show 3D video animations of the universe, giving passengers a window looking out onto outer space.
scroll up scroll down

Thomas Stricker –
Heaven Above, Heaven Below

»Is not that moment the greater, when man is distance himself, is himself space, that moment when he experiences eternity? The man (…) who lives this timeless moment, this heavenly reality, in order to stride freely through space, this man has paradise in him.« (Otto Piene)*

For Thomas Stricker where we are, where we find ourselves and linger, is
definitely negotiable: He has created artificial islands,, dropped meteorites on a tree and now brings heaven to earth. No, actually he goes one step further: He brings the universe under the earth.
If you ride through or arrive at the Benrather Straße U-Bahn, there is no other option than to travel through a spaceship. A spaceship whose walls and ceiling are clad in stainless steel: transversely rectangular, silver-colored sheets, pushing out points as vertical lines. These points are reminiscent of Braille as well as dripping code or the techno-modularized interior of spaceships, as we know them from Star Wars or Star Trek. Yet, where we really find ourselves comes into question through the six wall monitors. Arranged so that all inputs converge, they open the earth up to the cosmos. You slip through a real simulation of space, passing planets and moons, recognizing the gleaming scattered light of stars, craters and hills. Inspired by images and textures from the ESA and NASA, Stricker worked in collaboration with 235 Media, a media art agency based in Cologne, to design the projections as a continuous journey. The monitors are synchronized: If you look from one screen to the next, it is as though you are looking out a passenger window. A comet, which has just now appeared in front of you, flies by to your right, the room is part of a 3D animation, which logically surrounds the »ship.« There is even a cockpit: The close cooperation with netzwerkarchitekten made it possible for the slanted columns and windows to offer an unimpeded view to the lower levels and when you look back on the numerous silver modules, you quickly realize that the departing U-Bahn is not a shuttle just leaving a hanger. When asked about the meaning of his sculpture in an interview, Stricker replied, »Perhaps, in the best case, a sculpture is a thing which doesn’t obstruct my view, rather it expands my horizons?« This expansion, the widening and movement of a limited U-Bahn space can be experienced directly in Benrather Straße. It connects to the utopia of conquering outer space, which has already been experienced by Dusseldorf’s Zero artists as the legitimation of a new dimensionality of their art. Stricker understands it as an almost meditative metaphor for space: His »ship« is dominated by openings, oversized components – back to the future – making the invisible visible. The sculptor animates nothingness, the infinite blackness of space, and unites sculptural opposites in his reversal of space: matter and non-matter, earth and sky. This lends the room a connection to the basic functions of perception, the distinction between object and environment, the recognition of matter.
The vastness of artificial visual worlds is confronted with observations of the globalized everyday that distance continues to shrink. Images sent from satellites and captured by the antennas that adorn the roofs of remote villages allow us to pause for a moment to make non-room into a room. At Benrather Straße, Thomas Stricker has created an accessible social sculpture that can be opened virtually: A »ship« that is positively architecture when it moves through space.

* Otto Piene, »Paths to paradise,« in: ZERO 3, Düsseldorf 1958; Reprint ZERO 1-3, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, Cologne 1973, p. 148
scroll up scroll down
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Concept, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Joerg Hempel
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Concept, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Joerg Hempel
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Concept, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten

Process and Construction

Thomas Stricker’s basic idea was to evoke the vastness of the universe within the confines of the underground. Above and below were to be turned around and the heavy metamorphose into something light. For these reasons, he took the density and materiality of the earth surrounding the subway station and defined it in his mind as the cosmos. This conceptual exposure of the architecture was consistently implemented by all concerned and is reflected throughout the interior architecture as well as in the glass of the monitor displays.
The interior space of the station, developed together with netzwerkarchitekten, is made up of numerous glossy, embossed, finely perforated stainless steel panels mounted on the walls and ceiling. The embossed pattern is made up of vertical rows of dots, which are interrupted at irregular intervals, reminiscent of a constantly dripping binary code or a technical matrix. Depending on the angle and reflections, it is the spaces between the dots that seem to be the actual medium of information. The silvery shimmering stainless steel panels conduct the cold bluish light downwards or reflect the colors of the heavenly bodies passing by outside the windows into the interior.
In cooperation with Cologne computer specialists, 325 Media, Thomas Stricker has recreated the universe in a digital 3D space designing virtual trajectories through the rooms with images and textures from the ESA and NASA. This trip through outer space was rendered by means of a six-headed camera and shows related views from the six video windows of the bridge of an underground spaceship designed in proportion to the architectural geometry of the concourse level of the subway station.
scroll up scroll down
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stationen, Benrather Strasse, Process and Construction, Prozess und Baukunst, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Platten, Photo Thomas Stricker
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stationen, Benrather Strasse, Process and Construction, Prozess und Baukunst, Thomas Stricker, Baustelle, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Thomas Stricker
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stationen, Benrather Strasse, Process and Construction, Prozess und Baukunst, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Skizze, Photo Thomas Stricker
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stationen, Benrather Strasse, Process and Construction, Prozess und Baukunst, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Still aus Trailer, Photo Thomas Stricker

Spatial Concept

The “cut” of the subway station at Benrather Strasse lies to the north, perpendicular to the station under Kasernenstrasse. This clear cut into the surrounding urban context is created by an inclined wall that widens as it drops from the surface to the platform level, linking the two flights of stairs to form a single long concourse. By dint of the expansion of the wall’s geometry downwards, the stairs likewise widen out towards the platform. A spacious opening above the tracks at the concourse level allows glimpses from the upper stairs down to the platform – conversely, from down there you can see the way out of the station to the surface.
scroll up scroll down
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Spatial Conception, Raeumliches Konzept, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Spatial Conception, Raeumliches Konzept, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Spatial Conception, Raeumliches Konzept, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Spatial Conception, Raeumliches Konzept, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo netzwerkarchitekten
Wehrhahnlinie Duesseldorf, Stations, Benrather Strasse, Thomas Stricker, netzwerkarchitekten, Photo Joerg Hempel