John Pawson converts WW2 bunker into museum of Southeast Asian art
Tags:

Search results:

Photograph by def image

John Pawson converts WW2 bunker into museum of Southeast Asian art in Berlin

Architectural designer John Pawson has transformed a second-world-war telecommunication bunker into an art and furniture museum in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighbourhood.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Gilbert McCarragher.

The Feuerle Collection is a private museum hosting the contemporary art, Imperial Chinese furniture, and ancient Southeast Asian art collections of Désiré Feuerle.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by def image.

Pawson's first major project in Berlin, it features exhibition spaces with the designer's characteristically minimalist style.

"It is difficult to think of places more charged with atmosphere than these monumental concrete structures," said Pawson.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by def image.

"They fall very much into the category of 'engineers' architecture that so appealed to [minimalist artist] Donald Judd," he continued. "I knew from the beginning when I visited the site and first had that visceral experience of mass that I wanted to use as light a hand as possible."

Sculpture and furniture pieces dating from the 7th to 13th century are set alongside contemporary artworks by artists including Anish Kapoor.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.

Two primary exhibition spaces are positioned on the ground floors and lower-ground level of the 6,480-square-metre museum.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.

They are accompanied at ground level by an additional space for temporary exhibitions, and on the lower ground floor by three themed rooms: Sound Room, Lake Room and Incense Room.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.

In the basement, the ageing concrete columns and ceiling are left exposed.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by def image.

Here, visitors to the Sound Room will be asked to leave their mobile phones at the entrance, to ensure an experience of the artworks within without distraction. The room is filled with "minimalistic tones and silences" by American composer John Cage to help visitors concentrate on the pieces.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.

The Lake Room offers an unusual view of a lake on the lower floor of the building. This artificial water body is used to heat the museum via a geothermal heat pump, transferring heat from the ground.

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Gilbert McCarragher.

The Incense Room is designed to highlight the significance of China's ancient incense ceremonies, "a spiritual discipline where, by absorbing the energy from the good scents, one observes one's body and mind."

"Concentrating all the effort on making pristine surfaces would never have felt appropriate here," said Pawson. "Instead this has been a slow, considered process – a series of subtle refinements and interventions that intensify the quality of the space, so that all the attention focuses on the art."

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by def image.

"Intervention has been purposefully kept to a minimum, respectful always of the ways in which nature, man and the passage of time have made their marks on the fabric of the buildings," he added.

"Rather than grand gestures, the focus of the effort has fallen on the subtle calibration of key thresholds, on the spatial narrative through the galleries, on the quality of the light and on specific, quietly charged sensory encounters."

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by def image.

John Pawson and OMA have just completed a minimalist overhaul of the 1960s Commonwealth Institute in west London, converting it into a new home for London's Design Museum.


Project credits:

Design: John Pawson, Realarchitektur, Petra Petersson Architektin
Design team: Seamus Kowarzik, Mark Treharne, Stéphane Orsolini, Patrick Loewenberg, Nicholas Barba, Henning Watkinson, Kerstin Zahn, Julia Molles, Bärbel Ackermann, Philipp Bünger, Hans-Peter Bauer, José Calvet
Site supervision: Wolfgang Meier-Kühn
Structural engineer: Ingenieurbüro Rüdiger Jockwer
Fire prevention: Krebs und Kiefer Beratende Ingenieure
Building services: Ingenieurgesellschaft für Energie- und Umwelttechnik
Building physics, Institut für Gebäudesimulation Professor Lorenz
Art handling and exhibition logistics: Museumstechnik

More images and plans

The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Site plan
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Basement floor plan
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Ground floor plan
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by def image.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Gilbert McCarragher.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Gilbert McCarragher.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Gilbert McCarragher.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Gilbert McCarragher.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Gilbert McCarragher.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Gilbert McCarragher.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by def image.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by def image.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.
The Feuerle Collection by John Pawson
Photograph by Nic Tenwiggenhorn.