Source: Pool Leber Architekten
Photography: Brigida Gonzales
The “kult” unites the local museum, educational facilities, the local archives, the tourist information and the cultural administration for the county of Borken near the Dutch border in Westphalia. It fuses together four existing buildings from the 14th and 16th centuries and the 1970’s and 80’s, weaving these together with two new buildings, to form a new whole.
The ensemble extends the small-scale structure of the medieval housing along the town wall and moat, strengthening and completing the line between town and landscape. Within the walls of the town, the centre straddles a further border, between the original site of the 8th century monastery, which was the nucleus of the development of Vreden, and the market town, which developed around it.
A new urban “cultural way” runs along this border, leading from the town surroundings over the bridge and into the city. At this point the route crosses the building, bringing visitors into the atrium, the heart of the centre. Four axes open up from this point. Next to the two entrance routes to town and country there are views along the central street into the depths of the building and upwards into the museum levels.
Here, in keeping with the museum’s siting, the exhibition takes up the theme of the border, analysing this from both secular and clerical standpoints. On the first floor the open staircase leads to the secular part of the exhibition where corner windows open on to the view of the medieval port, the source of Vreden’s economic importance of the time. On the second floor, the clerical part of the museum, the stair points to two windows on the north side, which display the town’s two churches.
While the exterior is clad with the local brick, this is peeled away on the inside to reveal the concrete structure in raw timber texture. The existing buildings are clad with the same brickwork as the new parts, but in subtly differing shades. The details and proportions here evoke the 70s and 80s spirit of the original buildings at these parts. The expressive forming of roof and facade integrate the alignment of the original buildings and reflect the medieval urban grain.
The ensemble seeks to walk the delicate line between the small scale – fitting into the context of the housing on the town wall, the expression of the original buildings and their individual usages, while allowing the churches to continue to dominate the city skyline – while at the same time fusing the parts into a coherent whole which can be read as one building which, as befits the cultural nature of the programme, assumes a certain importance within the urban fabric.
Pool Leber Architekten, Munich, Germany
Bleckmann Krys Architekten, Münster, Germany
County of Borken, Municipality of Vreden
Kirchplatz 14, 48691, Vreden, Westphalia, Germany
Brigida Gonzales, Stuttgart, Germany