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BOOK

REVIEW

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart: Hascher Jehle Architektur Edited by Kaye Geipel.Axel Menges, 2006.92pp. £32.00

Just a short walk from Stirling's Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart is a new art museum which should also become a destination, both for its architecture and its collection. Less mannered, demonstrative and quote-laden than its predecessor, but solving equally difficult site problems, Hascher Jehle Architektur's Kunstmuseum is ostensibly a cube within a cube: an internal one, clad in warm ochre limestone, containing three oors of galleries, and an outer one of glass, screenprinted in horizontal strips that diminish in frequency towards the top. So it's at once veiled, transparent and reective, in ways that vary with light, distance and viewing angle, while at night it's a lantern at the corner of Stuttgart's Schlossplatz, filling a space where the Kronprinzenpalais once stood.

But inside comes a surprise.

Beyond the basaltfloored foyer are two 115m-deep suites of galleries, cleverly incorporating a disused traffic tunnel and exerting a powerful spatial pull to counter the attractions of the bar on one side and the shop on the other. This is where the permanent collection (which is strong in often unfamiliar German art) can be found, housed in well-lit rooms of varying size and reached through a sequence of walkways, landings and staircases that creates many arresting views - though not at the expense of the exhibits.

Axel Menges' new monograph explores the building's evolution and urban role and presents it in many fine photos, culminating with the panorama from the top of the cube, where the city supplants art.

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