Pumpwerk c Heinrich Holtgreve

A former pumping station of a disused colliery becomes an installation, the name remains and sounds promising: Königsgrube. Markus Jeschaunig's work, in which he transforms fragments of the demolished building into a hybrid landscape, is characterised by past and future. From 1860 to 1967, coal mining at the Königsgrube colliery in Herne-Röhlinghausen was extremely productive, then the black gold was extracted, leaving the earth depleted and perforated with subsidence of up to ten metres. The pumping station had the task of channeling the waste water from the neighbouring communities into the Hüller Bach and from there into the Emscher. With the end of coal mining, underground disposal became possible and the pumping station was decommissioned.

The pumping station is now being demolished. Artist Markus Jeschaunig is creating an installation on the partially backfilled foundations that sculpturally integrates various elements of the building: Part of a staircase will be preserved, three pipes will form a solar-powered fountain from which drops of water and sounds can be heard. A quarry forest is being created, a biotope made up of six black alder trees that like it wet and are reminiscent of the floodplain landscapes along the Emscher in pre-industrial times. On the paved forecourt, rainwater can be collected in a cistern via gutters and, together with a photovoltaic pergola, enables completely self-sufficient operation.

As an artistically remodelled ruin, Jeschaunig's work points to both the great technologies and the enormous ecological destruction that mining brought with it, and at the same time shows a way in which new life and climate-positive places can be created in the city.


Hofstraße 24, 44651 Herne