Museum Folkwang by David Chipperfield


David Chipperfield Architects have completed an extension to the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany.

The new building is clad in blocks of recycled glass and consists of six structures, organised around four courtyards.

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Photos are copyright Christian Richters/VIEW.

The information below is from David Chipperfield Architects:


Museum Folkwang

The Museum Folkwang, founded in Hagen by Karl Ernst Osthaus in 1902, was the first museum of contemporary art in Europe. The most significant works were transferred from Hagen to Essen in 1922, from which point on, aside from a period when the National Socialists temporarily divested the collection, the museum was able to pursue a high level of collecting activity. Today, it is one of the most high profile museums of the classic modern in Germany.

In 2007, David Chipperfield Architects won the international architecture competition for the museum extension, held by the city of Essen, one year before Prof. Dr. Berthold Beitz, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation, announced that the foundation would be the sole sponsor in providing the funding for the new building. The building was constructed by the Neubau Museum Folkwang Essen GmbH, a company of the Wolff Group. The opening of the museum is one of the most important cultural events to be held in Essen and the Ruhr region during their time as European Capital of Culture 2010.

The new building by David Chipperfield Architects complements the original building, continuing the architectural principle of an ensemble of six structures and four inner courtyards, gardens and galleries. The publicly accessible areas connect seamlessly with the existing exhibition areas. A generous open stairway leads from the Bismarckstraße into the new foyer, which takes the form of an open interior courtyard with a restaurant and a bookstore, and is protected from the street by a glass facade.

Visitors are welcomed into a succession of differing rooms - exhibition areas with ceiling heights of up to six metres, library and reading room, multi-functional hall, events space, depots and restoration areas. Sanded cement was used for the floors, which is similar in colour and texture to the cement stone used for the columns. The translucent, alabaster-like facade consists of large square recycled glass slabs. The colour of the facade shifts with the changing natural light. The integrated window openings sit flush with the facade. The extension is aligned towards Essen’s downtown, and together with the neighbouring Cultural Studies Institute adds a new urban architectural accent.

Project start: 2007
Completion: 2009
Opening: 2010
Gross floor area: 24,800 m2
Client: Neubau Museum Folkwang Essen GmbH on behalf of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach-Stiftung
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Structural engineer: Ingenieurberatung Pühl and Becker VBI, Seroneit and Schneider GmbH
Services engineer: Giesen-Gillhoff-Loomans GbR, BBT Engineers
Facade consultant: KonTec Fassadenberatung, Pazdera AG
Lighting engineer: Arup
Landscape architect: Planungsbüro Meinholf Hasse
Photography: Christian Richters

Posted on Wednesday February 3rd 2010 at 12:15 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • fvale

    how are we suppose to comment this based on 3 or 4 pictures and without plans ?

  • Abhi

    a very short feature of a good project.would help if we could see some drawings,sketches or atleast a few more images.

  • Mario

    Beautifull serene building!

  • Mario

    Don’t make a comment then..

  • Samuelebottega

    Beautiful as usual!

  • Steve

    I usually like Chipperfield, but this ones a yawner, looks like the regional office of a mid size pharmaceutical company.

  • norm

    mario, it’s a fair comment to say that there is not enough material published to make a comment. this is done to to emphasize the need of more visual material, which ultimately will improve the quality of this post, so no need to get negative..

  • joshu carpenter

    I think David should get the Pretzel Prize this year

  • robotlikerobot

    Another banger from Chipperfield. Very Essen!

  • cacas

    this is very good!! parabens! good work!

  • ste

    not as outstanding as usual when chipperfield builds something

  • dan

    i dont know what it is but chipperfield always reminds me of albert speer

  • melon

    Steve is right. I thought it looks like the local office of a chemical company, but he pretty much beat me to it… some neat reference to miesian detailing in the courtyard, but really, ho hum.

  • raul

    guys. can you put a link with other projects that participated to this competition? there are big names.

  • m

    Absolutely stunning (watch

    These subtle window frames appear to be in fact carrying the roof. Very inspiring work.

  • Mehyma


    I agree with the Speer comment. I think it may be because much of his work is extreme stripped Classicism and Speer was one of the earliest leading architects of the style. However, I also agree with Melon and Steve… while some of the detailing is interesting, it is a relatively bland design. For me, this is also why Chipperfield reminds me of Speer – lacking originality, thinking tremendously in the box, and not trying to create something “new” but rather just modifying something that is “accepted.”

  • Jos Maple

    what a terrible way to display art – in the corners!

    All the door ways take the prime location – hirarchy to the architect! thats clear….

  • Peter

    If it looks like a "regional office for a mid size pharmaceutical company", then where ever you live has a lot better architecture then where I live.