David Chipperfield Architects has built an art gallery and conference hall to complete the Carmen Würth Forum cultural building in Künzelsau, Germany. The art museum and conference facilities were built alongside a partially subterranean concert hall that was completed by David Chipperfield Architects in 2017. Together, the interconnected buildings – which stand alongside German screw and tool manufacturer Würth‘s headquarters – form the Carmen Würth Forum.
The new building is placed at a short distance from the main office complex and surrounded by open fields. It is embedded in the landscape, with the chamber music hall and the lower part of the events hall hidden beneath a natural mound. Incisions in the hillside are made on either side of the mound and establish two framed external spaces. These are flanked by retaining walls of concrete, poured in layers that make reference to the sediment strata of the site.
The larger southern forecourt leads to the main entrance and serves as a forum for diverse outdoor events, such as open-air concerts. The multipurpose event hall, which is accessed from a naturally lit foyer, provides space for 3,500 people, and has a trussed-steel roof. While the lower half of the hall is sunk into the ground, the upper gallery level rises above the highest point of the site and is glazed on all sides. The foyer also provides access to the more intimate chamber music hall, which from the outside is only perceptible as a modulation of the landscape. This hall seats up to 600 people and is lined in walnut.
The company’s corporate colour of red runs throughout the design of the interior spaces, appearing in the seating of the chamber music hall as well as in the flooring of both the foyer and the events hall. Sculptures from the collection of Reinhold Würth enrich the green spaces surrounding the building.
The contemplative exhibition spaces, dedicated to exquisite pieces from the Würth Collection, provide a counterpoint to the event spaces. The museum with its café and foyer includes a large, divisible exhibition hall with daylight atmosphere and a smaller, more intimate graphics art gallery. Through a glazed belvedere, the museum opens up to the vast landscape and initiates a dialogue between the works of art and the place, continued in a sculpture park set in the scenic surroundings of the Carmen Würth Forum.
“The clear forms of a dignified industrial architecture are consolidated into one complex that relates both to the company grounds on the other side of the street as well as the vastness of the landscape,” says Alexander Schwarz, axpartner at David Chipperfield Architects. “A place as we want it to be, with spatial, cultural and social appeal.”