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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Lenbachhaus Gallery & Museum

Information: courtesy Foster+Partners & dwell(dot)com
Photography: Nigel Young; courtesy Foster+Partners

The Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum in Munich, Germany,
Name sculpted by Thomas Demand

The Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum in Munich, Germany, re-opens on May 8, 2013, and will showcase, for the first time, a significant chunk of art from its avant-garde collection of over 30,000 artifacts, works of artists like Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, and Dan Flavin in addition to the internationally-renowned ‘Blue Rider’ collection and art by legendary Kandinsky...

Former studio and villa owned by painter Franz von Lenbach (1836- 1904), the 1891 historic buildings of the Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum that cater to a growing audience of 280,000 people a year, now stand restored by architects Foster+Partners. Augmented by a spectacular new wing, a new entrance and social spaces, including a restaurant, terrace, education facilities and a dramatic full-height atrium, the old is beautifully articulated within the new.

The Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum in Munich, Germany,
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Peeling away unnecessary historical accretions, a 1972 extension has been removed to reveal the wall of the original villa, which has been sympathetically restored in ochre render. The different historical elements have been unified by a new gallery pavilion, containing two levels of exhibition space. The new building is intended as a ‘jewel box’ for the treasures of the gallery – clad in metal tubes of an alloy of copper and aluminium, their colour and form designed to complement the villa’s rich ochre hue and textured facades. 

The Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum in Munich, Germany,
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Inside the new building, a sequence of intimate galleries display the Museum’s internationally-renowned ‘Blue Rider’ collection of early twentieth-century expressionist paintings. As many of the works of art were painted in ‘plein-air’, indirect natural light has been deliberately drawn into the upper level galleries to create the optimum environment for their display. The entire third floor of the new addition, the Stadtische Gallery, is given over to the abstract art of Wassily Kandinsky. 

The Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum in Munich, Germany,
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The rich artist oeuvres are further augmented by a museum-commissioned site specific installation by artist Olafur Eliasson in the front atrium. Titled Wirbelwerk, the twenty-six foot long conical shaped work, is made of polished steel and 450 panes of coloured glass that reflect light and shapes. During the day sunlight washes the white walls via a long, slender opening at roof level and horizontal louvers cast changing patterns of light and shade within the space.
 
The Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum in Munich, Germany,
Art installation by Olafur Eliasson


As well as repairing the fabric of the existing buildings, one of the main aims of the project has been to radically improve the museum’s environmental performance. A water-based heating and cooling system within the floors has been implemented – using significantly less energy than an air based heating, this represents an innovative step in a gallery context.


The Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum in Munich, Germany,
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“Our main challenge has been to maintain the same amount of exhibition area, within the museum’s footprint, while creating new circulation and visitor spaces. Given the way that the different parts of the museum had evolved, there was no such thing as a typical space – every corner is unique and required individual attention and different design decisions. This has been a fascinating process. Another important aspect of our design has been creating new opportunities for works of art to be exhibited outside the traditional confines of the gallery, such as in the atrium. This space develops the idea of the ‘urban room’ – it is the museum’s public and social heart, and point of connection with the wider city,” concludes Lord Foster.

The Lenbacchaus Gallery and Museum in Munich, Germany,
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