#036 Extension for the Prinzhorn Collection


Culture is educational

With support of the IBA, a collection that is unique in the world is to be exhibited in an exciting structure: Opened in 2001, the building housing the Prinzhorn Collection at present is located in the center of Bergheim. The Collection comprises unusual works of so-called outsider art by people who have experienced exceptional mental issues. The works shall be displayed in premises commensurate with the high international regard in which they are held: The adjoining existing building is to be converted in an innovative way, so as to highlight locally and internationally the potential this art offers.

Unique collection with too little space

The Prinzhorn Collection was established with artistic works created between 1880 and 1920 in psychiatric institutions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. As a continually growing collection of “outsider art” it is held in high international regard. By means of an extension, the museum intends to strengthen its function as a transdisciplinary knowledge platform and make its more than 24,000 works, exhibitions, and programs of events accessible to a larger user group. It will continue to cooperate closely with the neighboring psychiatric unit, the collection will be featured more prominently for the public.

The building will also feature a library, studios, and café

The extension is intended to create more space for the artworks, the library, and the shop. In an open studio, people with experience of psychiatry will be able to pursue art. New facilities such as a seminar, media, and lecture room, a prints collection, and a café with terrace will improve the impact on and communication with the district of Bergheim.

Bridges to the future

Volker Staab, architect and professor at the Technical University of Braunschweig and a member of the IBA Board of Trustees: “I am impressed by the potential that this extension (in terms of space and program) to this extraordinary art venue offers, whose bridges to the present day and the future an open society urgently needs.


June 01, 2017 | New air conditioning system for the Prinzhorn Collection and start of the spatial extension

With support from the Baden-Württemberg state, the Prinzhorn Collection will be equipped with a new air conditioning system. With the installation of the new system the exhibition space will be extended, allowing for a permanent exhibition of the classics of the Prinzhorn Collection. In a first step the space will be extended into the currents offices, which is adding around 90 sqm. The offices will be moved into the adjacent extension building. For this the city of Heidelberg has already budgeted EUR 30,000 on maintenance costs.

April 12, 2017 | Minister, Theresia Bauer, and secretary of state, Petra Olschowski, impressed by Prinzhorn Collection

Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science, Research and the Arts for the German state of Baden-Württemberg and Petra Olschowski, Secretary of State, visited the exhibition called “A Fresh Spirit – Alfred Kubin and the Prinzhorn Collection”. They were both elated by the artworks from psychiatry-experienced creators, and would appreciate it, if the collection could be shown in a permanent exhibition without any breaks for reconstruction. Thomas Röske, the director of the collection, guided them through the exhibition together with the chairman of the clinical centre, Prof. Dr. Guido Adler, the medical director of the hospital for general psychiatry, Prof. Dr. Sabine Herpertz, and the deputy mayor for culture, Dr. Joachim Gerner. Aside from the art warehouse, he also showed them the cramped spaces in the restoration workshops, the handling space for recent acquisitions, and the lack of room in the other offices. With the extension of the collection spaces it would no longer be necessary to temporarily close the exhibition during reconstruction, which Minster Bauer also considers a “major disadvantage”. Together with Petra Olschoswki, Theresia Bauer wants to support the process.

January 5, 2017 | The City of Heidelberg and the Heidelberg University Hospital are committed to the funding

From 2017, whilst the Prinzhorn Collection has been included in the institutionalised funding of the city, with an annual budget of EUR 30,000. The university and the hospital will provide five rooms in the extension building for staff to move from the museum. The renovation of this space is financed through municipal resources, whilst the university hospital has granted the funding for the renovation of the subsequently available spaces for the museum extension.

July 16, 2015 | Prinzhorn Collection looking for partners

The Prinzhorn Collection is looking for partners! And in Dr. Eckart Würzner, Lord Mayor of the City of Heidelberg, it has an important advocate: “Alongside literature and dance, the Prinzhorn Collection is one of the city’s unique features, with which, in the field of culture, we intend in the future to position ourselves more strongly and make more of in the international visibility. The extension will do justice to the importance of the historical collection and the significance of the museum as a research center and lab for research on outsider art topics.” Should you be interested in supporting the Prinzhorn Collection extension, please contact Prof. Michael Braum at m.braum(at)iba.heidelberg.de.

July 16, 2015 | Prinzhorn Collection becomes an IBA_PROJECT

At the meeting of the Supervisory Board in June 2015 the Prinzhorn Collection was voted an IBA_PROJECT. Together with the IBA Office, the candidate had spent a year fine-tuning its ideas: In specialist discussions with experts, through workshops and design events the project organizer finalized the concepts. The Supervisory Board of IBA Heidelberg subsequently decided as follows: The financial, organizational, and content-related basis of this candidates’ project is sufficiently advanced for us to be able together to take the next steps towards it becoming a construction project.

Dec. 15, 2014 | Joint workshop on the overall concept

In addition to numerous members of the Friends of the Prinzhorn Collection, the IBA, and the City of Heidelberg, outside experts attended the workshop to help decide the requisite specifications for the IBA_CANDIDATE Prinzhorn with their advice and criticism. Marie-Theres Deutsch, an architect from Frankfurt, Prof. Johann Feilacher, Director of Museum Gugging in Austria, Christiane Hauss, an architect from Heidelberg who assessed the planned building in a feasibility study, Prof. Volker Staab and Prof. Stephen Craig, both members of the IBA Board of Trustees, Prof. Claudia Nickel, and students from SRH University Heidelberg all spent the day working closely on the content-related and spatial concept for the museum extension.

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