The Municipal Museum in the Kornhaus


A terrain step shapes Kirchheim unter Teck

The Kornhaus, located in the middle of the pedestrian zone, is a cultural monument of special significance and part of a historical building ensemble of the old half-timbered town. As a professional 3D visualisation agency, Loomn created numerous 3D images for this competition project. In addition to the sensitive renovation and restructuring of the building and the new concept for the exhibition, the competition also aims to significantly upgrade the exterior. The design is guided by the special geographical threshold location of Kirchheim unter Teck directly on the Albtrauf - the characteristic stepped slope on the edge of the Swabian Alb and the main European watershed. In the outdoor area, an accessible sculptural ramp system will be installed, which is modelled on the distinctive geological formation with its terrain steps. The stepped structure with integrated water feature creates a new, attractive forecourt with a high quality of stay and, in addition to revitalising the outdoor space, also ensures access to the museum entrance from Max-Eyth-Strasse. It also offers low-threshold access to the theme of the exhibition by making it possible to experience the basic conditions of the city's development through the local geography, and sustainably extends the information into the urban space.

Urban planning and architectural concept

The architectural concept picks up on the desire for an open house by designing the ground floor as a "city foyer" open on all sides. Large shop windows incorporate the urban space and allow views of key exhibits, visitors and cultural activities from the outside, while the urban setting of the building remains unchanged. The address is created vis-à-vis the city information centre in the Max Eyth House on the southwest corner of the building. Here, the history of the city and the region is introduced in terms of content and design by means of the abstracted "Albtrauf". At the head of the ramp, a small forecourt is created at the level of the entrances to both buildings. The integration of Max-Eyth-Strasse is achieved by converting the existing openings of the former colonnade into generous shop windows that allow a view of the permanent exhibition, while on the north side, the foyer and cultural education facilities open up along the entire length of the building towards Widerholtplatz. On the inside, the exhibition floors are "opened up" around a new access core in order to make the existing building - especially the structure of the supporting framework and the massive outer walls - tangible on the inside as well.

Spatial organisation, internal and external accessibility

The "city foyer" on the ground floor is accessible from the west side of the building and secondarily from Widerholtplatz. From the foyer, the cultural education centre and the permanent exhibition are directly accessible at ground level; the area of the cultural education centre is visible from the permanent exhibition and from Widerholtplatz and can be extended to the latter in appropriate weather conditions. On special occasions - for example, the museum festival - the entire ground floor can be opened and "interconnected". The tour through the permanent exhibition is designed as a continuation of the "Albtrauf" outside. It begins on the ground floor and leads back through the vaulted cellar to the foyer, including the staircase in the east of the building. All other floors are accessed by a stair and lift core standing freely in the area of the ground floor. The two special exhibition areas can be seen from the main access and can be separated separately. Sanitary facilities and cloakrooms are located close to the exhibition and event spaces, both in the basement and in the attic. The lift serves both as a passenger and freight lift; deliveries can also be made at ground level via the foyer. The other office, storage and technical areas are accessed via the necessary stairwell.

Fire compartments, escape and rescue routes

All floors will be evacuated via two independent escape routes. The first escape route is provided by a necessary external stairwell in the east of the building. This is reached directly from the exhibition and event areas - on both upper floors - via a necessary corridor. The second structural escape route is provided via the new, open main staircase in the west of the building. The clear flight widths of both staircases are designed for the escape of up to 200 people, especially from the hall on the top floor.

Architectural design, construction and materiality

The existing façade openings on the ground floor will be converted into large shop windows in the area of the former colonnade, and in the area of the bricked-up openings facing Widerholtplatz, they will be fitted with generous opening sashes that are also glazed. The new glazing - in contrast to the low-lying windows from the period of construction - is flush on the outside, frameless and without divisions, emphasising the public use of the Kornhaus and its opening into the urban space. The pointing and the surface of the existing façade will be renovated, but the various interventions from the building period will not be removed. The roof is to be re-insulated and re-roofed, if possible using existing tiles. The windows in the upper storeys and, if necessary, in the attic should be preserved in their original state; therefore, insulation of the exterior walls, which would also lead to a considerable loss of substance, will be dispensed with. Measures for shading, darkening and, if necessary, burglary protection are carried out on the inside. Exhibition walls and permanently installed showcases are moved away from the substance, "freely adjusted" and reversible. On the upper floors, the exhibition walls mounted in front of the outer walls also provide surface temperature control. Thus, on the one hand, surfaces that meet the requirements of contemporary exhibitions are offered and, on the other hand, climatic aspects (comfort, low air movement) are taken into account. The interventions in the interior construction are limited to the necessary minimum. The necessary stairwell will be inserted and continued at the existing location. Together with the storage and service areas, the stairwell is separated from the interior by "shortening" the floors at the eastern end of the building; only the new stairwell wall is designed as a load-bearing, room-enclosing wall. The new access core - recognisable as a new, central element of the pathway and standing freely away from the façade - is led through all floors. The staircase in particular is designed in such a way that it interferes with the ceiling fields themselves and the main supporting structure remains untouched. The disturbance of the cellar vault is deliberately accepted for this purpose in order to enable intuitive orientation in the building. Changes to the existing materials in the interior are deliberately avoided and the surfaces of the exterior walls, supporting structure and floor coverings assumed to be from the time of construction are replaced or restored. At the same time, however, the ceiling structures will be upgraded in terms of fire protection. For reasons of monument protection, the supporting structure itself will not be clad. Whether and which further technical compensation measures will be necessary is to be clarified in cooperation with the approval authorities.

3D Visualization: Municipal Museum Kornhaus
loomn | Exterior view: Municipal Museum Kornhaus

A town history full of turning points

Against the backdrop of its characteristic threshold situation, the first section of the new presence exhibition narrates the development of the town of Kirchheim unter Teck chronologically in nine chapters. These are not oriented towards the usual epochs, but instead place the architectural developments that shaped the town and the political, economic and social upheavals behind them in the foreground of the narration. How does the urban environment shape the lives of the city's citizens and vice versa? How does city life continue to develop? Positioned in the "shop windows", the key exhibits convey many extraordinary stories in this regard.

A city - as diverse as its people

Which themes of the city's history are still perceptible today or offer glimpses of the future? The second part of the exhibition on the ground floor is dedicated to this question. The population, dialects, immigration and emigration and the multi-faceted face of Kirchheim are presented at theme stations and "shop windows" with audio and video stations. The "shop windows" create visual relationships between the interior and exterior spaces, which already arouse interest in the Kornhaus as a lively cultural venue in the urban space.

A collection full of stories

The municipal museum has a rich cultural-historical collection whose diversity is impressively conveyed by an expansive glazed display depot in the newly opened vaulted cellar. This form of presentation makes it possible to experience the range of topics and the dimensions of the collection synchronously and creates exciting connections between the objects. A temporary exhibition area arranged around the Schaudepot offers space for alternating stagings of special collection highlights. Scientific methods, special topics and the latest research findings can be explored in depth here, as can the old legends that surround many an object. The many different ways to play address different target groups and make every visit to the museum a new experience, even for regular visitors.

Making layers of time tangible in the present day

From the geological terrain of the "Albtrauf" to the architectural and historical stages of the city's development to the structure of the exhibition graphics, the guiding idea of graduation runs consistently through the design concept. The design reference to the special geographical threshold location of the town of Kirchheim unter Teck carries the mediation into the outside space and sustainably strengthens the inside-outside relationship between the museum and the town.