Städel Museum Extension, Frankfurt A.M.

Companyschneider+schumacher
Lead DesignerTill Schneider, Michael Schumacher, Kai Otto
Design TeamHans Eschmann Miriam Baake Felicitas Adler Mark Delle Florian Haus Kerstin Högel Miriam Huesgen Ragunath Vasudevan
PrizePlatinum in Architectural Design / Cultural Architecture

The new extension to Frankfurt’s beloved Städel Museum, designed by schneider+schumacher and completed in February 2012, incorporates landscape, light, art, and subtle architecture. The project is the result of an international competition. schneider+schumacher’s winning design nearly doubled the exhibition area without compromising the openness of the museum – by burying the 27.568 m3 building beneath the museum’s garden. The three basic ideas informing the design were to achieve a logical, confident integration of the new structure into the existing ensemble; to create an underground where one forgets the fact that it is in the basement; and finally, to design exhibition spaces that comply with the exigencies of modern museum life. Beneath the gentle hill landscaped upon the museum courtyard, a domed roof – supported by 12 slim reinforced columns – looms over the new exhibition space. One hundred and ninety-five circular sky lights (varying in diameters from 1,50m at the outer edge to 2,50m at the highest point in centre) punctuate the concrete slab. These specially developed “eyes for art” highlight the multi-disciplinary nature of the new extension – the aperture may both be walked upon as a collective art object, while illuminating the underground space with a rich sense of daylight that may be controlled by integrated LED lighting and built-in shading elements. The extension lies below the water table and is anchored by 160 deep piles to prevent floating. The new building also incorporates 36 geothermic piles, reaching up to 82m into the earth. These provide heat (in winter) or cooling (in summer). As the jury declared then awarding schneider+schumacher, “Frankfurt is given not only a distinctive and unique exhibition space, but a state of the art green building, too.”