In August 2006 Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Bertthold Beitz, Chairman of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung announced that the foundation would provide the funds for a new building for the Museum Folkwang as sole donor. With this decision, the Krupp-Stiftung provides a unique continuation of its decade long proven generous support.
In March 2007, David Chipperfield emerged as victor of an international architecture competition organized by the city of Essen. The building was constructed by the Neubau Museum Folkwang Essen GmbH, a company of the Wolff Group and opened in 2010 when Essen and the Ruhr Area became European Cultural Capital.
The new building by David Chipperfield Architects complements the list old building of the Museum Folkwang, conserving its autonomy and is a continuation of its architectural principles with an ensemble of six structures and four interior courtyards, gardens and corridors. Public access areas are connected to the existing exhibition rooms without any change in level. A large open stairway leads from Bismarckstraße into the new entrance hall, conceived as open interior courtyard with café and restaurant as well as a museum bookstore and is protected from the street by a glass façade. The new Museum Folkwang offers a varied series of rooms with considerable natural light for the exhibition areas, as well as library and reading room, a multi-function hall for lectures and events, depots and restoration workshops. The new building is oriented towards the Essen city center and forms, in harmony with the neighboring Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, a new urban landscape accent.
Dates and Facts New Building...
In May, 1960, the Folkwang Museum’s first new building after the 2nd World War was opened: today’s listed, so-called old building. The preceding building on the same site, by Edmund, Körner, was destroying in a bombing raid shortly before the end of the war. Planning for a new building began in the beginning 1950ies, and in 1956 the City of Essen approved its construction. The architects Werner Kreutzberger, the city’s director of construction, Erich Hösterey and Horst Loy designed one of the most successful museum buildings of the post-war period. A transparent building closely oriented on the great models of classic modernism, it gained is special aura through its two courtyards and through the large windows that opens it out towards the exterior for visitors. From Kahrstraße, they allowed a view into the interior of the building, so that visitors and passersby can se the artworks of the collection even from outside – corresponding to the philosophy of the museum’s founder, Karl Ernst Osthaus, who wanted art brought close to the people. The limited means available for the building at the time required to architect, the museum director of the day, Heinz Köhn, and his curator Paul Vogt to be highly functional. With the passage of time, a new concept became necessary. Elements of Edmund Körner’s earlier building, such as the courtyards, were nonetheless preserved and play an impressive role in David Chipperfield Architects’ new building.
After 1960, the old building quickly became a prestigious home for the Folkwang Museum and a social meeting place for the city. Important works by Renoir, van Gogh, Gauguin, Signac and from 19th century German art had not been confiscated by the National Socialists, remaining in the museum and forming the basis for a reconstruction of the collection.
In the renovation of the old building by the Neubau Museum Folkwang Essen GmbH, a company of the Wolff-Gruppe, concluded in the summer of 2010, the rooms were adapted to the security and climatic techniques of the new building. With the generous financial support of the Folkwang-Museumsverein, the skylights in three of the exhibition rooms could be reopened, allowing the use of natural light here as well.
In the old building today, the Museum Folkwang shows masterpieces of the 19th and 20th centuries.