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Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

Architecture Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau The project started as a won competition for the redevelopment of the “Zentralplatz”. The program included approximately 20.000 m² of retail space, urban functions and a 6.000 m² square.

Urban design concept
The complete program is split into two volumes, separated by the Zentralplatz. This separation of functions allows for two autonomous and highly functional buildings, which can develop long-term and independently. Because of the precise positioning of the buildings and their outline, the pedestrian flows are organized in an effective and logical way.

Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

© Thomas Eicken

Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

© Thomas Eicken

Kulturbau
The Kulturbau houses the public library, the Mittelrhein Museum and the tourist information of Koblenz, with their ‘Zentrum der Rheinromantik’. The combination of these different cultural institutions offers the chance to exploit the synergies between the various institutions. The cultural building stands solitary in the new central square and is a landmark due to this solitary character, its facade design and the conscious elevation in the city. The building has splendid accessibility for visitors; the central lobby has entrances from all sides and is therefore a natural part of the urban fabric.

Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

© Thomas Eicken

Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

© Thomas Eicken

On the open square, the three functions each have their own entrance. Via prominent access elements like the spiral staircases (museum and tourist information) and the escalator (library), the institutions can be reached. Above the common ground floor area, the different functions overlap each other per floor. The permanent exhibition of the Mittelrhein Museum occupies the first floor. The library is located on floor two, four and five, with direct access to the roof terrace. The 30 meters high open space inside connects the institutions vertically, brings day light deep into the building and offers a variety of outlooks.

Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

© Thomas Eicken

The volume has a double facade with a Structural-Glazing construction of white silk-screened glass, which envelops the building like a second skin and offers a frosted and refined appearance. The motif of the print provides a filtered view from inside to outside, and allows a vaguely transparent view when looking from the outside in. At the different entrances, the outer facade has a spacious cut and therefore offers a direct view of the lobby and entrance areas.

Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

© Thomas Eicken

Forum Mittelrhein
The mall Forum Mittelrhein presents itself as a flat, horizontally layered structure. Due to this powerful format, the building’s volume is reduced efficiently and a pleasant sense of scale is established. On relevant junctions within the urban fabric, the mall offers spacious entrances. The shopping center is characterized by its trapezoidal layout and smooth outlines. The areas intertwined with escalators offer orientation points, divide the building and provide the interior with natural light. Above the stores are adjoining rooms and a parking lot for about 740 cars. The parking spaces are organized around a central landscaped courtyard.

Benthem Crouwel Aachen | Kulturbau

© Thomas Eicken

Together, the glass facade on the ground and first floor with standing formats, and the expressively shaped click frames, give a strong vertical orientation. The top three floors of the building are dominated by an artificial “Weinlaub facade” (wine leaf facade). The basis of the structure is an abstract image of a vine leaf, which is interpreted freely as a 3D-shape. The entire facade is composed out of only one type of element, that is produced in an industrial thermoforming process.

Location: Zentralplatz 2, Koblenz, Germany
Architect: Benthem Crouwel Aachen 
Project name: Kulturbau
Client: Forum Mittelrhein Koblenz GmbH & Co.KG
General planer: ECE Projektmanagement GmbH & Co.KG
Period: 2007 – 2013
Project data
Competition: 2007
Start construction: 2010
Completion mall: September 2012
Completion Kulturbau: June 2013
Typologie: Commercial / Public building/ Culture
Gross floor area
Mall: 42.500 m²
Parking: 25.000 m ²
Kulturbau: 18.600 m²
Project team: Markus Sporer, Marcel Blom, Anna Gerlach, Noortje ter Heege, Tina Kortmann, Sascha Rullkötter, Cornelius Wens, Sander Vijgen, Benedikt Krienen, Anna Böll, Frank Deltrap
Contractor: Züblin GmbH
Structural engineer: IDN Ingenieure, Duisburg
Mechanical services: Technic Air, Hamburg
Fire safety: HHP West, Bielefeld
Photos: Thomas Eicken
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