Art Depot

This historical monument, a former warehouse now known as the Kulturspeicher (literally ‘culture store’), houses a museum combining the municipal art gallery and a private collection of Concrete Art. It is a truly impressive building of tremendous presence that deserves to make a major impact far beyond its local importance. In the spirit of ‘Interpretative Conservation’ propagated by Rudolf Schwarz, this bold yet sensitive conversion sets standards for a future approach to historical buildings. Although the architects completely gutted the old building but for the almost 16-m high timber beam structure in the foyer, they have succeeded in preserving the character of the place and making its former function legible. The rough-hewn stones of the façade are still visible, as are the old steel fittings and the weathered lettering of the former user.

The structure of the warehouse, with its three gables between which storage levels are spanned, has been adopted by the architects for the building s new function. The difference is that now the white gallery rooms are set in free-standing concrete cubes like shrines. On the side facing the river, a sweeping system of walkways and stairs stretches the entire length of the building, providing not only circulation to the museum but also fascinating views through, into and out of the volume. For the new head ends of the building, the architects designed a glass façade with a natural stone blind. The solid, tilted slats allow an unclear view into the interior of the building. The seemingly dematerialised glass, which clads the ‘container’ type additions accommodating the restaurant, visitors’ terrace and administrative offices on the side facing the river, appears strangely solid and almost impermeable.
through, into and out of the building.