Friday, August 19, 2011

Herzog & de Meuron - Expansion of the Küppersmühle Museum - Duisburg -mapolismagazin

For expanding the Küppersmühle museum, Herzog & de Meuron place a seemingly weightless ashlar on top of a former silo building.

First Strike
It’s been twelve years since the former Küppersmühle storage building at the Duisburg inner harbor was opened as a museum for modern contemporary art. In order to be able to use the brick building erected in 1908 for the sake of art, Basle architects Herzog & de Meuron had removed the core completely to make room for airy and generous exhibition rooms. The listed brick façades were able to be preserved to a large degree. Only the stair tower with its sculptural interior of terracotta-colored concrete was added as a new element.

Architectural Breakup
The museum’s expansion, started in summer 2009, speaks a totally different language. Instead of continuing the old strategy, Herzog & de Meuron contrast the stock through adding a light and translucent appearing ashlar, placed on top of the adjacent concrete silo at a height of 36 meters, projecting far towards the highway in the East. The seemingly floating impression of the supported box is emphasized by a spherically appearing shell of glass, encasing the inner structure like a transparent skin. Openings of various sizes in the inner shell allow for selected insights into the new building’s interior and views towards the outside onto the Duisburg inner harbor.
Hard and abruptly, right below the expansion, the eye meets the silo’s tube-like concrete architecture and the adjacent brick façades of the former storage building - a powerful design which will very likely turn the artfully balanced ensemble into the city’s architectural landmark!

Additional Exhibition Area
All in all, the Küppersmühle museum will have 22 additional rooms with a total exhibition area of 2,000 square meters after its completion. Despite the shell’s consequent arrangement, the interior’s design is supposed to continue the plainness of the already existing exhibition areas. Far above the city and the Duisburg inner harbor, visitors will be able to experience one of the most important collections of contemporary German art within a far bigger context. An exciting tour starting off with Joseph Beuys via Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Markus Lüpertz and completed withHanne Darboven and Candida Höfer!
Actually, the expansion building should have been completed by now. However, the ones in charge now expect the opening ceremony to be held in June 2012. If the available animations really display what’s going to be, the long waiting time will definitely be worthwhile. Let’s see what the future brings.

constructor: Gebag, Duisburger Gemeinnütziger Baugesellschaft AG
architect:     Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
status:         Completion: expected for June 2012
size:            Exhibition area: 2,000 m²

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