David Chipperfield finishes Carmen Würth Forum in Germany with an art museum

Industrial architecture, new materiality and light-filled spaces define the art spaces of the Carmen Würth Forum that stands by the values of Adolf Würth company in Künzelsau.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : Jul 15, 2020

The Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau in southern Germany is now complete with the realisation of its second phase. Designed by the Berlin office of David Chipperfield Architects for the Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, it was first opened in 2017 with the completion of a concert and event hall. This has now been extended with a flexible conference area and an art museum along the southern forecourt of the first phase of the Carmen Würth Forum cultural building.

Carmen Würth museum that connects with the surrounding landscape | Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau by David Chipperfield Architects| STIRworld
Carmen Würth museum that connects with the surrounding landscape Image Credit: Courtesy of Simon Menges

David Chipperfield says “This second construction phase will mark the completion of the Carmen Würth Forum, fulfilling Reinhold Würth’s vision to create a gathering place for the employees of Würth and the wider community beyond”. The new buildings are to house the Würth art collection. The design of the complex caters to the diverse range of functions that further establish the conceptual idea of a forum. The building allows for a continuously open space due to its use as a museum. The primary space of the new building is an elongated gallery on the ground floor, topped with a skylight that stretches across its entire length. A smaller enclosed gallery is located on the floor below.

It symbolises the connection between a place of work, its community and the surrounding environment, which the company has nurtured so impressively over the years. – David Chipperfield
  • Light filled spaces of the Carmen Würth museum | Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau by David Chipperfield Architects| STIRworld
    Light filled spaces of the Carmen Würth museum Image Credit: Courtesy of Simon Menges
  • The site plan showing the new Carmen Würth Forum in relation to the company’s headquarters in southern Germany | Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau by David Chipperfield Architects| STIRworld
    The site plan showing the new Carmen Würth Forum in relation to the company’s headquarters in southern Germany Image Credit: Courtesy of Simon Menges

The contemplative exhibition spaces, dedicated to exquisite pieces from the Würth Collection, provide a transition into the event spaces. The Würth Collection - founded in the 1970s by Reinhold Würth - today comprises a total of more than 18,000 works of modern as well as medieval paintings and sculptures with 14 other museums across Europe.

  • Plan of the Carmen Würth Forum with the new art gallery to the south and the previously built event and concert hall | Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau by David Chipperfield Architects| STIRworld
    Plan of the Carmen Würth Forum with the new art gallery to the south and the previously built event and concert hall Image Credit: Courtesy of Simon Menges
  • Industrial architecture that brings new materiality | Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau by David Chipperfield Architects| STIRworld
    Industrial architecture that brings new materiality Image Credit: Courtesy of Simon Menges

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 belvedere that brings in light through its glazed walls, the exhibition space creates an introverted cabinet gallery. “With an element of surprise, the contrasting lighting situations contribute to the spatial quality of the extension building with its different room typologies,” says Marcus Mathias, Associate and Project architect.

Outdoor spaces for events that connect with the museum | Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau by David Chipperfield Architects| STIRworld
Outdoor spaces for events that connect with the museum Image Credit: Courtesy of Simon Menges

The museum opens up to the vast landscape and initiates a dialogue between the works of art, the surrounding landscape and the context. The museum subtly but surely continues to become a part of the sculpture park set in the scenic surroundings of the Carmen Würth Forum. “The inner courtyard as a meeting point between the diverse uses offers space for dialogue and reflection,” adds Mathias.

The art gallery showcasing the Würth collection | Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau by David Chipperfield Architects| STIRworld
The art gallery showcasing the Würth collection Image Credit: Courtesy of Simon Menges

While adapting industrial architecture in its form and language, the project redefines the terms of design through the use of materiality. The design by David Chipperfield Architects of the parts and the whole of this complex attempts to seek a sculptural engagement not only with the surrounding landscape, but also with the clear forms of Würth‘s company values and premises.

Project Details

Name: Carmen Würth Forum, Phase 2 Künzelsau, Germany 2018–2020
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Address: Am Forumsplatz 1, 74653 Künzelsau
Client: Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG; represented by Paul Krämer (for all construction concerns) and C. Sylvia Weber (for all museum concerns)
Facilities: Conference area, art museum with graphics art gallery and belvedere
foyer with bookshop, café, cloakroom, transition to the first construction phase with event hall and concert hall
Outdoor facilities: Inner courtyard
Site area: 170,000 sqm
Gross floor area: 5,500 m² (Phase 2)
13,300 m² (Phase 1 and 2)

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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