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First look

Chipperfield completes second phase of conference and cultural centre in southern Germany

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Commissioned by the Würth Group, the building components and chemicals company, the new buildings include a conference space and art museum

The second and final phase of the Carmen Würth Forum in the town of Künzelsau in Baden-Württemberg has been completed by David Chipperfield Architects. 

The Forum, named after the wife of the present company head, Reinhold Würth, includes both a flexible conference area and an art museum, adding to the first phase of the project, which contained a concert hall and large event hall and opened in 2017.

The new range of facilities at the Forum now allows it to be open day-to-day, with the new art museum exhibiting work from the Würth Collection, which includes contemporary, modern and late-medieval art. 

1309 10 sm 200624 n2

1309 10 sm 200624 n2

Source: Simon Menges

As a counterpoint to the event spaces, the new exhibition spaces are designed to be contemplative in contrast. The museum, which includes a café and new foyer, consists of a large exhibition hall, which can be divided up and is naturally lit, and a smaller, more enclosed gallery space for showing drawings.

A glazed belvedere opens the museum out to its surroundings, allowing a dialogue between the works of art and the landscape, which includes an adjacent sculpture park. 

The architecture of the forum is intended to echo the forms and language of industrial architecture – meaning the Forum connects out to the context of both the surrounding landscape and the adjacent Würth company factory and premises. 

1309 10 sm 200624

1309 10 sm 200624

Source: Simon Menges

Architect’s view

This second construction phase will mark the completion of the Carmen Würth Forum, fulfilling Reinhold Würth’s vision to create a gathering place for the employees of Würth and the wider community beyond. It symbolises the connection between a place of work, its community and the surrounding environment, which the company has nurtured so impressively over the years. 

David Chipperfield, founder, design principal, David Chipperfield Architects

The museum and conference centre extend the events hall and chamber music hall, embodying the forum idea of the place, both in terms of building and content. The clear forms of a dignified industrial architecture are consolidated into one complex that relates both to the company grounds on the other side of the street as well as the vastness of the landscape. A place as we want it to be, with spatial, cultural and social appeal.

Alexander Schwarz, partner and design director, David Chipperfield Architects

With an element of surprise, the contrasting lighting situations contribute to the spatial quality of the extension building with its different room typologies. They emphasize the individual character of each room – from the exhibition space with its daylight atmosphere, to the introverted cabinet gallery, to the bright belvedere opening up to the landscape. The inner courtyard as a meeting point between the diverse uses offers space for dialogue and reflection.

Marcus Mathias, associate and project architect, David Chipperfield Architects

948 1309 06 d sbb 750

948 1309 06 d sbb 750

Source: David Chipperfield Architects

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Project data

Start on site November 2018
Completion date April 2020
Gross internal floor area 5,500m² (Phase 2) / 13,300m² (Phases 1 and 2)
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect David Chipperfield Architects, Berlin
Executive architect Kraft + Kraft Architekten, Schwäbisch Hall
Client Adolf Würth
Structural engineer Mayer-Vorfelder und Dinkelacker Ingenieurgesellschaft für Bauwesen und Co, Sindelfingen
M&E consultants ZB Zimmermann und Becker, Heilbronn; PBS Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Aalen
Building physics Horstmann + Berger, Altensteig
Acoustics consultant Horstmann + Berger, Altensteig
Fire consultant Halfkann + Kirchner, Stuttgart
Façade consultant Reba Fassadentechnik, Chur
Lighting/daylighting consultant Arup Deutschland, Berlin 

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