01/07/2016: Topping-out ceremony for Kunsthalle Mannheim

Museum building at Friedrichsplatz takes shape

Design Meinhard von Gerkan and Nikolaus Goetze with Volkmar Sievers
Project leader, competition Di Miao
Competition design team Ulrich Rösler, Mira Schmidt, Steffen Lepiorz, Liselotte Knall, Kai Siebke, Frederik Heisel
Team 3D and visualization Markus Carlsen, Tom Schülke, Jens Schuster, Christoph Pyka, Kenneth Wong
Project leader, execution Liselotte Knall, Kerstin Steinfatt
Execution design team Anna Falkenbach, Ulrich Rösler, Raimund Kinski, Amra Sternberg, Viktoria Wagner, Hanna Diers, Michèle Watenphul
Client Stiftung Kunsthalle Mannheim
GFA 15,835 m²

Following the foundation stone laying ceremony in March 2015, the next stage has now been reached: the topping-out ceremony for Kunsthalle Mannheim took place today, on 1 July. The construction of the currently largest museum project in Germany was assigned to gmp Architects after the practice had emerged from the international competition in 2012 as one of the three leading contestants.

The new museum building at Friedrichsplatz in Mannheim links up with the historic Art Nouveau building and has been designed as “city in the city”. Within a simple overall structure, individual units have been arranged in an inspiring composition to provide exhibition space and rooms for supporting functions. They enclose a central atrium and are linked via galleries, terraces and bridges. In analogy to the elements that make up urban environments – buildings, blocks, streets and squares – the architects have created varied circular routes through enclosed and open spaces with changing vistas and outlooks. As in the layout of the city of Mannheim with its “street squares”, the clear overruling structure makes orientation easy; at the same time, each situation conveys new impressions – just as the city’s diversity of the architecture, changes in the building lines, recesses and empty plots ensure that no space is identical to another.

As was planned at the time of the foundation of the Kunsthalle hundred years ago, it is given a prestigious elevation towards the park at Friedrichsplatz to mark its contribution to the urban context. From there, visitors enter the central daylight atrium via the new main entrance. The atrium is the point of orientation and also the starting point for the circular tours through special exhibitions and constantly changing displays of collection exhibits on three levels, two of which are connected with the existing building. The exhibition concept includes large rooms with back-lit ceilings that can be used in a variety of ways as well as individual cubes with lateral lighting, and a large open terrace that was specially designed for the museum’s important sculpture collection. The third floor includes a roof garden in the round tour from where visitors can enjoy a view of Friedrichsplatz.

The facades are cloaked with a transparent metal mesh with bronze-colored coating that defines the external shape of the building and creates a respectful dialogue with the sandstone color of the neighboring buildings. Varying degrees of transparency are achieved with different mesh widths. In this way, the integrity of the overall building shape is preserved while the individual volumes can be experienced in their graded differences from close up or further away, by day or by night. Just as the urban structure of a city provides the ordering context in which each individual building can express itself, the “city of art” concept forms an architectural framework which, at the same time, provides maximum flexibility for the arrangement the museum’s exhibitions.

Movie of Architecture
Hans-Georg Esch & Oliver Schwabe

gmp Architekten

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