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Kolumba Museum / Peter Zumthor

Kolumba Museum / Peter Zumthor
© Jose Fernando Vazquez
© Jose Fernando Vazquez

Special thanks to our reader Jose Fernando Vazquez from Urbana Arquitectura (view his work previously featured on AD) who has shared these images of Zumthor’s amazing Kolumba Museum with us. Situated in Cologne, Germany, a city that was almost completely destroyed in World War II, the museum houses the Roman Catholic Archdiocese’s collection of art which spans more than a thousand years. Zumthor’s design delicately rises from the ruins of a late-Gothic church, respecting the site’s history and preserving its essence. ”They believe in the inner values of art, its ability to make us think and feel, its spiritual values. This project emerged from the inside out, and from the place,” explained Zumthor at the museum’s opening.

More about the project and more of Vazquez’s images after the break.

Zumthor, consistently mindful of the use of the materials, and specifically their construction details, has used grey brick to unite the destroyed fragments of the site.   These fragments include the remaining pieces of the Gothic church, stone ruins from the Roman and medieval periods, and German architect Gottfried Böhm’s 1950 chapel for the “Madonna of the Ruins.”

The facade of grey brick integrates the remnants of the church’s facade into a new face for the contemporary museum. Articulated with perforations, the brick work allows diffused light to fill specific spaces of the museum.  As the seasons change, the”mottled light shifts and plays across the ruins,” creating a peaceful ever-changing environment.

© Jose Fernando Vazquez
© Jose Fernando Vazquez

The museum includes 16 different exhibition rooms and, at the heart of the building, a secret garden courtyard – a quiet and secluded place for reflection.

© Jose Fernando Vazquez
© Jose Fernando Vazquez

The materiality plays such an important role in the overall design, and Zumthor, known for taking his time to develop projects, searched quite awhile for the perfect material.  Handcrafted by Petersen Tegl of Denmark, the bricks were specifically developed for this project, as they were fired with charcoal to imbue a warm hue.

© Jose Fernando Vazquez
© Jose Fernando Vazquez

Source: Debra Moffitt for Architecture Week

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Cite: Karen Cilento. "Kolumba Museum / Peter Zumthor" 06 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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