Herzog & de Meuron
Project
2013-2017
Realization
2016-2021
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Process

A grain mill was erected in 1860 on the site of the present Museum Küppersmühle by industrialist Wilhelm Vedder, one of the founding fathers of Duisburg’s Inner Harbour, which closed down in 1972. The Museum Küppersmühle (MKM), a project by Herzog & de Meuron dating from 1999, was the first milestone in the transformation of the Inner Harbour into an attractive focus of urban life. As a museum, the former mill, with its historic brick elevations and characteristic original silos, became the centre of a new multi-use site within the city.

The conversion of the grain mill into the Küppersmühle Museum was completed by Herzog & de Meuron in 1999. An extension to accommodate the Ströher collection was to be erected in 2008 on top of the silo towers, but after construction setbacks, it was put on hold until 2013. The extension project was then reactivated, this time with the Ströher family as clients, resulting in a radical new start. The original idea of an illuminated cube balanced on the silo towers and visible from afar was abandoned, replaced with a proposal to maintain the proportion and materiality of the existing structure — as if the new building had always been there.

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The museum presents key works and groups of works from the Ströher Collection, one of the most extensive private collections of German post-war art to date on 2,500 m2 of exhibition space. With over 2,000 works, the collection comprises central positions of art development in Germany, from the immediate post-war period to the present. The focus is on painting, but the collection also includes sculpture and photography.

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The architecture and interior design of the new exhibition areas are based on the overall character of the Küppersmühle as a typical industrial facility of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The uppermost display area, which is not directly accessible from the existing building, consists of a visible shed construction with top-lighting. All exhibition levels have a spatial arrangement facilitating flexible use.

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The extension is linked directly to the existing exhibition spaces by bridges through the silos on the first and second levels. Once the storage containers for grain located at the eastern end of the original building, the silos were renovated, their original materials retained and supplemented by a superstructure, maintaining the sculptural identity of the Küppersmühle as an industrial monument. The silos simultaneously are used as exhibition spaces, a link between buildings, and a direct connection from ground-level access to a viewing platform above.

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The new visitor staircase forms the second vertical access along the museum tour to the west, the first being the existing staircase next to the entrance. The form and material design of the new visitor staircase was developed from the language of the existing stair tower: the red colored concrete creates an interplay with the oiled clay plaster walls and the stair treads covered with reddish terrazzo, amplifying a tone-on-tone visual continuity.

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The facade design of the extension echoes the existing building. The color of the bricks, proportion of individual elements, and rhythm of the grid and windows follow the lead of the original MKM, yet have a character of their own. The profile of the individual bricks harbour a handmade quality with textural recesses, and depending on the facade orientation and height, they lay at differing angles to to accentuate the various volumes and their alignments.

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The extension displays two instances of the oversized lettering of KÜPPERSMÜHLE, one integrated into the eastern brickwork facade and another above the silo, emphasizing the industrial history of the site and its visual identity. The eastern facade sign is composed of individual bricks that were precisely shaped based on a digital 3D model, formed and baked, then laid in order.

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Drawings

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Team

Facts

Client
MKM Stiftung fĂŒr Kunst und Kultur e.V.
Planning
General Planning: Drees & Sommer Schweiz GmbH, BĂŒro Basel, Basel, Switzerland
HVAC Engineering : Drees & Sommer Advanced Building Systems, Cologne, Germany
Structural Engineering: Drees & Sommer Advanced Building Systems, Stuttgart, Germany
Construction Management: Diete + Siepmann Ingenieur GmbH, Kaarst, Germany
Landscape Architect: Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich, Switzerland
Specialist / Consulting
Fire Protection Consulting: HHP Berlin, Hamburg, Germany
Building Data
Site Area: 96'875 sqft, 9'000 sqm
Gross floor area (GFA): 53'819 sqft, 5'000 sqm
GFA above ground: 44'670 sqft, 4'150 sqm
GFA below ground: 9'149 sqft, 850 sqm
Number of levels: 5
Footprint: 9'149 sqft, 850 sqm
Length: 177 ft, 54 m
Width: 82 ft, 25 m
Height: 104 ft, 32 m
Gross volume (GV): 1'306'643 cbft, 37'000 cbm
Facade surface: 43'055 sqft, 4'000 sqm
Links
www.museum-kueppersmuehle.de

Bibliography

Luis FernĂĄndez-Galiano: “Herzog & de Meuron. Espacios de arte: Hong Kong, Duisburgo, SeĂčl.” In: Luis FernĂĄndez-Galiano (Ed.). “Arquitectura Viva.” Vol. No. 240, Madrid, Arquitectura Viva SRL, 12.2021. pp. 27-47.

Location