Proposal for the redesign of the Neroberg in Wiesbaden Marc van den Broek & Wolf Vogler, August 1990
The task was to develop an artistic concept for the redesign of the open field on the hilltop of the Neroberg in Wiesbaden.
Our interest was focused above all on the central area of the hilltop with the tower ruin left behind after a hotel fire and the romantic “temple” built in 1851, which offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
The concept for BERG WERKE, a large kinetic sculpture, encompasses the tower ruin and the “temple,” complemented by a kinetic TOWER sculpture and the DYNAMO sculpture. It was important to ensure that the flora and fauna of the hilltop setting could flourish undisturbed in spite of the close proximity of the artistic intervention in the setting. The surrounding natural environment was to be “designed” – in consultation with us – by the Municipal Parks and Grounds Department.
Position and location of the TOWER sculpture
The TOWER (at its original location) stands in a direct spatial and contextual relationship to the DYNAMO. The tower sculpture fragment and its base lie within the circular ground plan of the DYNAMO sculpture and are enclosed by its bronze plates. The old tower ruin is preserved and restored – along with the traces left behind by the history of the architecture and in with consideration given to the integration of the kinetic TOWER sculpture. Its present spire will be augmented by an observation platform with four telescopes, which will be made accessible to the public and offer a better panoramic view of the Wiesbaden and the surrounding area.
Visitors can enter the interior of the tower, where they can view the exposed drive system for the kinetic TOWER sculpture and climb a spiral stairway to the observation platform.
The kinetic TOWER sculpture will be built into the 20-meter-tall historical tower and extend some eight meters above it. A sphere framed by an open, pyramid-shaped metal framework rests at its upper end. As the sphere slowly rises, the pyramid opens, and the sphere appears to float in the air above the base. At the highest point in its ascent, the metal struts join to form a cube that surrounds and protects the sphere.
The DYNAMO sculpture reflects and accentuates the gently curving silhouette of the hilltop. Its rough, coarsely textured curvature with a diameter of some 35 meters and an inclination angle of roughly 10 degrees rests on a concrete-steel substructure and is composed of triangular bronze segments. It covers the highest point on the entire hilltop area. Situated between the tower fragment, the temple and the edge of the surrounding forest, it adorns the hilltop with an accessible metal crown, from the sides of which the tower ruin and the TOWER sculpture rise upward.
The bronze body of the DYNAMO sculpture contains 26 hidden chambers in which 26 steel containers – one for each district of Wiesbaden – are incorporated. An inscription marks the location of each chamber and the respective (removable) container, each of which has a spatial capacity of 50 liters.
One of the containers is to be placed in the town hall of each city district for one month. Everyone in the district will be given the opportunity place a personal object in the container and thus have it stored on the city hilltop. This kind of creative involvement by individuals is an important and necessary element of the sculpture.
The replacement of the filled and sealed containers will occur in conjunction with a major festival on the hill, which is to take place on the occasion of the summer solstice in keeping with tradition. The sculpture will be complete and able to release its full motivating power once the last filled container is returned to its place on the hilltop for all time. In this way, creatively designed matter is converted into energy that is capable of mobilizing the city.