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Haus für Musiker, Raketenstation Hombroich

Neuss, Germany
1 of 5Tomas Riehle

The Haus für Musiker on a former NATO base in Germany is one of several architectural projects which were initiated to convert the former rocket station into a cultural venue. The first plans for the studio by the Austrian born architect Raimund Abraham were already conceived in the 1990s. The building works started in August 2006,2018 the building has been completed.

Raimund Abraham designed it for his friend Karl-Heinrich Muller, the visionary founder of a "radical" personal museum, the Insel Hombroich Foundation.

The whole building is a monolithic structure of light concrete. The eye-catching element is the 50 cm thick, 1,500-ton circular slanted roof above the cylinder body of the music studio. The roof has a diameter of 33 m and appears floating in spite of its heavy weight. In its center there is a cut in the form of an isosceles triangle with a side length of 17 m.

Especially this concrete slab was a technological challenge. A solution was found that the flowing mass of concrete could be placed in the 15 degrees sloping roof formwork without the mass began to slide inducing elevations in the roof surface. They opted for a three-layered roof with the consistency of concrete mixtures F3 class. In this case a tight bond between the layers was necessary, the one usually reached by that is applied to the not yet set concrete coating the next layer. In this case, this technology was not consistently possible. The concrete was added to a retardant that slows the drying process.

In the first step, a 15 cm thick concrete layer was placed on the reinforced cages casted with hollow plastic balls. Due to their low density, they behave like buoys floating on the surface. In a 30 cm thick concrete bed was as a middle layer. The upper end makes a 9 inch thin slightly moist layer, which was reinforced with polypropylene fibers to prevent cracks of shrinkage.

Raimund Abraham who also called the studio the Quartet House because it allows four musicians to live, work and perform there. Unfortunately Raimund Abraham will not see the finished house. He died in a car accident in 2010 at the age of 76.

Stiftung Insel Hombroich, Minkel