E-WERK Luckenwalde


( Concept )

E-WERK Luckenwalde (EW) is a new institution located in a former coal Power Station built in 1913 in Luckenwalde, Germany. The institution has a pioneering ecological and economic model, producing and supplying renewable electricity – Kunststrom – to the building and the national grid.

What is Kunststrom?

Kunststrom directly translates as ‘art-power’ and is produced by artist-run energy provider Performance Electrics gGmbH (PE) through a variety of artistic interventions, wood-gas installations, performances and sculptures. As a not-for-profit institution, EW reinvests all revenue from energy production, being sold to the German National Grid, back into its contemporary art programme. It is the first contemporary art centre in the world to be powered by its own energy production.

Who are Performance Electrics gGmbH?

Founded by German artist Pablo Wendel in 2012, PE is the only not-for-profit energy provider worldwide to produce and supply Kunststrom. PE has a client network of museums, institutions and private households and reinvests 100% of its profit from renewable electricity sales into culture and Kunststrom technology.

Where is E-WERK Luckenwalde?

E-WERK Luckenwalde (EW) is PE’s largest and most ambitious project to date. Located 30 minutes south of Berlin, EW is jointly directed by Pablo Wendel and Helen Turner. In 2017, PE led by Pablo Wendel acquired the former brown-coal power station with the vision to reanimate it as a renewable “Kunststrom” power station and contemporary art centre. EW now produces and supplies renewable wood-gas and solar electricity “Kunststrom” to the building and national grid. EW encompasses four floors, a vast outdoor space and totals over 10,000 m2 which includes a 350m2 Turbine Hall, three multipurpose exhibition spaces and a metal, engineering and wood-workshop. The building is also home to 12 subsidised artist studios, hosts an ambitious international exhibition programme and facilitates a multi-level education programme. EW is a creative laboratory for interdisciplinary action against climate change.

Interior of E-WERK Luckenwalde

the long sleep of amber, Peles Empire, 2021, installation shot, E-WERK Turbine Hall. Photo courtesy of Trevor Good, 2021.


EW is now looking to expand into an E-CAMPUS! The construction industry is responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world, with operational emissions (from energy used to heat, cool and light buildings) accounting for 28%. But what if it were possible to optimise nature’s contribution to develop an exemplary E-CAMPUS for the cultural sector powered by 100% renewable emissions and develop a long-term strategy for sustainable cultural institutions in rural environments?

PE will expand its operations to the neighbouring 1928 Bauhaus Swimming pool and 8-story former electronic goods factory. Both buildings will be brought back to life as a 60 artist-studio complex and contemporary art exhibition venue, using green construction methods and powered with 100% renewable electricity in partnership with wood-gas pioneers Spanner Re2, sustainability experts Cradle to Cradle NGO and research institute Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. PE will work with the grey energy of the buildings, which will be heated and powered with renewable electricity and restored using natural, local and sustainable materials and methods, such as clay, wood expanding foam and hemp fiber. Action orientated, E-CAMPUS will operate as a radical alternative for sustainable museum development both ecologically and economically.

L-R: E-WERK Luckenwalde Main Entrance. Photo courtesy of Ben Westoby, 2019; E-WERK Luckenwalde, 2021. Photo courtesy of Tim Haber

Project Team
E-WERK Luckenwalde: Helen Turner and Pablo Wendel
Project Name
Team Location
Luckenwalde, Germany
Arts, curatorial and creative practice