Museums are considered as the cathedrals of the 20th and 21st century. No other building projects of contemporary architecture focus so much on the experience of spirituality as new museum buildings. Builders for art is the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop called which presents concepts and the approach of renowned architecture firms for international museum projects.
Designing a museum always means maintaining the balance between architecture that pushes itself forward and leaves only minor roles for the presented works of art and purely functional spaces that refrain from any design, as art actually doesn’t need anything more than a white cube. The purpose of museum buildings, however, is also to make a statement of urban development, to support the branding of the museum, to attract visitors and to create a location of spiritual exchange. Good museum architecture helps works of art to unveil their full aesthetic and spiritual impact, to illuminate them and to foster the dialogue among the exhibits and as well as with the visitors. In doing so the requirements may be very different, from the graphics cabinet to large installations that stretch over seveal floors every work of art requires a particular environment.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art
Museums as places of conservation and documentation have turned into dynamic meeting centres, exhibition rooms aren’t entered anymore in awe like a temple, but considered as laboratories and places of learning, where the audience can make interactive experiences. Serving spaces is the subtitle of the exhibition about museum architecture at the Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop, where concepts, models and the approach of five renowned architecture firms are displayed, among them David Chipperfield Architects who were responsible for the restoration of the Neues Museum at the Berlin Museum Island, and Staab Architekten who designed the Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop.
David Chipperfield Architects
David Chipperfield Architects ranks among the most renowned architecture firms worldwide and have realized numerous museums and galleries since the foundation in 1985, among them the Museo Jumex in Mexico-City, the Neues Museum in Berlin, as well as the James-Simon-Gallery which is still under construction and will serve as new entrance of the Berlin Museum Island. Offices in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai work on the multifaceted projects realized by David Chipperfield Architects. Their design practice focuses on the effort to achieve architecturally, socially and intellectually coherent solutions that are based on the commitment to the collective design of projects, from the very first stroke to the completion. David Chipperfield Architects received the Deutscher Architekturpreis for the restoration of the Neues Museum and were awarded the Mies van der Rohe-Prize for contemporary architecture by the European Union.
The Folkwang Museum was founded in 1902 by Karl Ernst Osthaus as the first museum of contemporary art in Europe. In 1922 it was relocated to Essen, after the liquidation of the collection by the National Socialists the collecting was resumed in the post-war era, today the Folkwang Museum ranks among the most renowned museums of the classical modernist period in Germany. The listed old building was complemented by a new building by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin that leaves its integrity untouched and extends ist architectural basic structure by a sequence of six structures and four atriums, as well as gardens and lobbies. The already existing exhibitions rooms are on the same level as the new building which have been deliberately incorporated without any level difference.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, David Chipperfield Architects, Museum Folkwang, eastern façade, photography © Christian Richters
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, David Chipperfield Architects, Museum Folkwang, courtyard, photography © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
Through the new building the Folkwang Museum has received an exciting sequence of rooms, with much natural light illuminating the up to six meters high exhibition spaces. A library with reading room, a multifunctional hall, an event area, depots and restoration workshops enable the museum to fulfill the multifaceted requirements in modern museum management. The façade was paneled with large-scale plates from recycled glass which give the structure a transparent lightness, varying the coloring according to the situation of light. The new building is lined up with the centre of Essen and makes an urbanistic statement in conjunction with the neighbouring institute of cultural sciences.
Opposite of the Berlin Museum Island is the gallery house Am Kupfergraben 10. The clean four-storey building establishes a relationship with the historic surroundings without denying its past. The floor plan corresponds to the preceding building that was destroyed at war, completing the block the buildung also serves to repair the city. The façades were built from recycled bricks which contrasts with the large-scale window openings, giving the building a strong sculptural character. The outer patina creates a visually exciting contrast to the bright spacious gallery rooms which are illuminated by daylight from various directions. The gallery house doesn’t only work for the presentation of art, but as a residential building or office as well.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, David Chipperfield Architects, gallery house Am Kupfergraben 10, Berlin
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, David Chipperfield Architects, gallery house Am Kupfergraben 10, Berlin, photography © Ioana Marinescu
Kuehn Malvezzi Architects with Michael Riedel
The design of public spaces and exhibitions is in the focus of the works that are realized by the architectural firm founded in 2001, with architects, designers and curators being part of the team. Kuehn Malvezzi Architects are responsible for the architecture of documenta 11 in Kassel, the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum fuer Gegenwart in Berlin and the Julia Stoschek Collection in Duesseldorf. Apart from other contemporary collections Kuehn Malvezzi Architects also have redesigned numerous historical collections. In 2009 they received the Deutscher Kritikerpreis in the category of architecture for their design of the Berlin Humboldtforum which questions the reconstruction of the Stadtschloss in a critical way.
The erection of the Moderne Galerie of the Saarlandmuseum was affected by a building freeze in 2013. Due to structural and financial issues the building shell couldn’t be completed. After an invitation to tender the planning was awarded anew to Kuehn Malvezzi Architects. Together with the artist Michael Riedel the architects created a concept that doesn’t conceal the building problems of the past but makes them the starting point of the reconception. The concept mirrors the relationship of the museum to public space and the political situation including its owners and users. The collaborative work by Kuehn Malvezzi Architects and Michael Riedel resulted in an architectural installation that uses script as dominating element and makes the location legible in a literal sense.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, Kuehn Malvezzi Architects, extension of the Moderne Galerie Saarlandmuseum, photography © Hans-Christian Schink
For this purpose sound recordings of the debate in the Saarland Parliament that discussed the procedure of the project were transcribed onto letter bands which run across the façade and the museum forecourt, with the word museum always being highlighted. The installation puts the old and the new building into a new context, and the visitors enter the complex of buildings through the historical entrance again. In conjunction with the neighbouring Hochschule fuer Musik Saar the building creates a new urban space nearby the historical centre. The atrium of the new building which originally had been planned to be the entrance was turned into a 14 meters high exhibition hall that can be experienced through visual axes on all levels.
Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei Architekten
The creation of a place is in the focus of the design work by Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei Architekten. Their goal is to use the experiences of the long building history without copying history. The spaces that emerge from this approach are meant to convince through their physical presence and their tactile character. During the concept phase the quality of existing buildings is explored and translated into contemporary design. In doing so architecture not necessarily has to be reinvented. Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei Architekten regularly take part in architectural competitions, among their successes are the Historisches Museum in Frankfurt a.M. and the Stadtmuseum Stuttgart.
Building history also was the starting point for the design of the new Kunstmuseum in Ravensburg. Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei Architekten designed exhibition rooms for the collection of Peter and Gudrun Selinka that are opened by window cutouts only minimally. The dominating element is the vaulted ceiling from brick shells that arches over the upper floor and accentuates the physical presence of the architecture. The goal was to integrate the art museum into the historical environment harmoniously through a functional floor plan, as if it had always been part of the grown cityscape. Refraining from deliberate contrasts the façade from recycled bricks appears familiar, this effect is enhanced by the simple clear framework of the building. The bricks come from a torn down monastery near the Belgian border and emphasize the idea of sustainability also in architecture. In addition the Kunstmuseum Ravensburg is the first museum worldwide that was certified in accordance with passive house standards.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei Architekten, Kunstmuseum Ravensburg, photography © Roland Halbe
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei Architekten, Kunstmuseum Ravensburg, photography © Tomasz Lewandowski
Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos
Among the most important works by the multiple award-winning architectural firm Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos with offices in Madrid and Berlin are the Museo Madinat al-Zahra near Cordoba, the museum of contemporary art in Cordoba and the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg near Halle. The archaeological excavation of Madinat al-Zahra which reveals Spain’s thousend years old Arab history was planned to be developed into a museum complex. Starting point of the design was the landscape of Andalusia where the spacious site was excavated, that’s why the approach of the architects was inspired by the cautious excavation practice of the archaeologists. Deliberately they refrained from erecting a building that would have dominated the site and the landscape. Instead the museum was carved out into the ground like an excavation, as if it had been buried for centuries.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, Museo Madinat al-Zahra, Cordoba, photography © Fernando Alda
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, Museo Madinat al-Zahra, Cordoba, photography © Roland Halbe
The design is based on a raster with a fixed reference height the rectangular excavation fields were drawn in, subsequently the levels were carved into the ground on the basis of a calculated layer thickness. The museum, the auditorium, the depots and the studios are based on this floor plan, with the excavated ruins of the Arab city being integrated into the new building as structural elements. The exhibition rooms of the subterranean museum are grouped around massive structures and cavities, roofed areas and courtyards that serve as guidance system for the visitors. A square patio comprises the most important public spaces, next to the exhibition rooms and the auditorium there are a cafeteria, a bookshop and a library. Administration, research and restoration workshops are part of another courtyard lying lower. The visitors get out into the open through a third courtyard. The open structure allows the museum to be expanded without any difficulty with additional pavilions according to the progress of the excavations. Concrete walls and roofs from Cor-Ten-steel reinterpret the white and red murals of the Arab medina, with the play of light and shadows bringing the splendour of the caliph’s city back to life.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, Museo Madinat al-Zahra, Cordoba, photography © Roland Halbe
Berlin architectural firm Staab Architekten was founded in 1s991 after a competition success to realize the Neue Museum in Nuernberg. Since then Staab Architekten have specialized in new museum buildings, other successes are the extension of the Richard Wagner Museum in Bayreuth, the LWL-Landesmuseum fuer Kunst und Kultur in Muenster and the Museum Georg Schaefer in Schweinfurt. For the quality of their designs they have been awarded the Deutscher Architekturpreis repeatedly. Among the most well-known projects of Staab Architekten is the redesign of the Albertinum in Dresden. The foyer space was rethought as a consequence of the flood disaster of 2002 in order to create a new depot for the public art collections in the courtyard of the Albertinum. The depot wasn’t built in the courtyard, but above it, to preserve the central courtyard of the Renaissance building and can be recognized only as illuminated ceiling. The stream of visitors is redirected, at first they get to the inner courtyard and subsequently to the newly organized exhibition tour. During the closing time of the Albertinum the roofed courtyard can be rented and serves as event location.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, Staab Architekten, Albertinum Dresden, photography © Werner Huthmacher, installation Berserker I, II, III, Stella Hamberg
The design of the Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop where the exhibition Builders for Art takes place was inspired by the history of the artists’ colony in Ahrenshoop. The artists who settled down at the Baltic Sea around the turn of the century felt very connected to the landscape and the building tradition in the region which they also expressed in their works. Typically an art museum requires a pretty large structure which couldn’t have been integrated in the small town easily. For this reason Staab Architekten developed an ensemble of single room buildings that group around the central foyer and give the impression of a set of thatched houses. Central skylights illuminate the exhibition rooms with plenty of daylight and emphazise the shapes of the local building tradition that are reduced to the essential. Vertical openings in the walls make the works of the artists’ colony in Ahrenshoop enter into dialogue with the landscape. The roof shape and the façades from folded sheet metal that characterize the interconnected buildings integrate the Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop perfectly into the environment with their typical thatched roofs.
Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop – Builders for Art, Staab Architekten, Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop, photography © Stefan Mueller
14.10.17 – 18.03.18 Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop