Furtwangen, 2011, Brandlhuber+ Emde, Burlon / Andrea Álvarez Menéndez, Martin Buchholz, Jurek Brüggen, Anne Grosset-Brun, Olaf Grawert, Anthony Haag, Maria Hudl, Tobias Hönig, Martha Michalski, Arthur Neznanow, Leander Nowack, Andrea Pavkovic, Markus Rampl, Kristof Schlüßler, Marco Wagner, Marcel Weimar, Anna Wisborg, Büro für Konstruktivismus, Bernardo Cabral, Andreas Schulz, Christoph Gengnagel, Moritz Heimrath
This project for the museum for the Horst & Gabriele Siedle Art Foundation is located in Furtwangen, a post-industrial town in Germany’s Black Forest region. The clients are the seventh generation owners and managing directors of a major tradition company that originally produced bells and cast components for clock manufacturers since 1750. In the 19th century, it became one of the pioneers of the German telephony industry and today it is the market leader in building communication technology. The entrepreneurs are avid art collectors and converted their private art collection into a foundation in 2013 in order to make it accessible to the public. The building for the art collection draws on these lineages of the clients, continuing their different histories into a single space for displaying art. The building will be constructed adjacent to the headquarters, production spaces, and administrative buildings of the Siedle company. An abandoned mansion with a typical regional shingle facade occupies the center of the lot intended for the new collection building. Instead of demolishing the house, its walls will be used as the formwork for casting the new core. Because the house is clad in shingles, the walls will leave their imprint on the new cast, resulting in a textured concrete core, similar to the way the client’s company once cast the elements for clocks. In this way, the history of the site is carried on into the new architecture, referencing without literally preserving the old buildings and the company’s history.
The building, constructed in concrete and glass, revives the classic modernist trope of the elevated ground floor. Raised on a transparent base, the primary volume of the building floats above the ground, incorporating the public space of the street into the building. The massive textured core, contained by a larger glazed rectangle, will measure 34.5 by 25.4 meters in total. The transparent ground level, structured without subdivisions to provide maximal flexibility, can serve as a foyer, visitor’s area, event hall, archive, shop, or exhibition space. The upper volume, which cantilevers 13 meters over the central core, contains 800 square meters of floor area, and will be used to exhibit the art collection to the public. The rooms in which the art collection is currently housed will be reproduced exactly in order to serve as exhibition space and gallery partition walls in the otherwise open floor plan. The replicated exhibition rooms also perform structurally, helping to transfer the loads to the core. In addition to reference to the company’s history and the development of the elevated building typology, the third premise was to visualize the structure. On the ground floor, this is manifested in the glass facade, which reveals the load-bearing core. For the upper volume, this is achieved through the unconventional configuration of the concrete: instead of adding extra steel reinforcement to compensate for moments of heavy comparative stress, the concrete is simply thickened on the outside where it is needed. As a result, the occurring forces and the inner structures become visible in the form of a floating amorphous volume, held together by a concrete core with a shingle texture.