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Zur kleinen Weile


Situated between the renaturated Emscher river in Dortmund-Huckarde and the Emscher bike trail is the work »Zur kleinen Weile« (For a short spell) by the Berlin collective raumlabor. It was created for the third edition of the Emscherkunst exhibition in 2016 which showed temporary art in the eastern part of the Ruhr region, stretching from the source of the Emscher river to Herne. This sculpture by raumlabor is one of five artistic perspectives from the 2016 exhibition that were preserved for the Emscherkunstweg.
Cycling alongside the Emscher from Dortmund’s Huckarde district towards Castrop-Rauxel, in the distance one suddenly spots a monumental grey rock looming out of the rampant vegetation. Something golden flashes at the peak of the sculpture that is set against the backdrop of a flyover. Getting closer, one catches sight of an opening in the belly of this amorphous edifice which tapers to a point. Hovering slightly above the ground, the concrete sculpture can be entered via a ramp. The object’s misshapen exterior with its irregular surface of shot concrete stands in sharp contrast to the perfectly globe-shaped space that opens up on the inside and is fully painted gold. Small apertures below and a larger round opening at the top create an unusual acoustic setting in combination within the smooth, spherical interior. Visitors are encouraged to try out this sound experience by using their own voices and then pausing »for a short spell«.

All that glitters is not gold. However, the spherical cavity of the walk-in concrete sculpture from the Berlin artist and architecture office surprises with a special sound experience.

With their work, raumlabor has created a space for contemplation, a tranquil haven in a countryside where nature constantly battles with urban sprawl and traffic noise. In this spot beside the ecologically converted Emscher the river is now barely visible since nature has managed to reclaim its refuge. By the end of 2022, the Emscher river system will finally have been cleansed of wastewater. However, not everywhere is it possible to restore enough space to the riverbed for it to naturally evolve again. Here and further up-river in the section running through the Deusen district of Dortmund, one can observe how the altered landscape has interacted with urban growth in ever-changing ways.

The work was executed by Andrea Hofmann and Markus Bader from raumlabor, in collaboration with Claire Mothais, Federica Teti, Louise Nguyen and Maria Garcia Perez.

Here the part of the Emscher is already completely renaturated.

Beautiful from above: The works of art on the Emscherkunstweg can also be admired from the air!

Emscher-Weg, Huckarder Strasse 260
44369 Dortmund
Public transport

From Dortmund Hauptbahnhof (main station) take the U47 (towards DO-Westerfilde S- & U-Bahn) to the stop Insterburger Strasse, then continue on foot for about 450 m.


Prefabricated reinforced concrete, shotcrete construction, steel skeleton with railings on concrete foundation
approx. 920 x 540 x 550 cm

During the construction of the sculpture in 2016.

»The immediacy of man and nature can be experienced sensually and the idea of man becoming one with the cosmos becomes tangible in the midst of Dortmund's noisy and visually powerful Ruhr district scenery.«



Founded in 1999, raumlabor is a collective of architects that operates at the interface of architecture, city planning, art and intervention.

For each project the group assembles a bespoke team of experts. Participants might be artists, musicians, scientists or urban residents. Its experimental spatial practice is characterised by a fundamentally process-oriented, research-based approach. Among the projects the group has realised are monumental temporary architectures for public space or artistic interventions. These focus often on transforming difficult places, as for example in the project »Eichbaumoper« (Oak Tree Opera) for the Eichbaum underground railway station close to the A40 motorway between Essen and Mülheim an der Ruhr.

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