The distinctive nature of the collection carries over into the space in which it is exhibited. The architecture of the JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION, which is designed with installations and time-based works in mind, creates narratives that reflect the relationship between the interior and exterior, as well as the arrangement of the space itself. Between the cinema room in the basement and the roof terrace above the new attic floor, a whole series of spatial experiences unfolds - from the closed to the open, from the dark to the light. A media museum is no black box. On the contrary, the spatiotemporal works here challenge the architecture as an opponent that lends form and support as explicitly as it does discretely, that facilitates a range of spatial experiences and that never becomes conspicuous in its surfaces and materiality. A “room within a room” construction makes it possible to vary the intensity of the light on both exhibition levels. The openings in the inner shell can be altered in their relation to the windows in the outer shell. On one occasion this became the setting for an artistic intervention by Olafur Eliasson. He used a series of kaleidoscopic mirrors to transform one of the inner walls into the permanent in-situ work “When Love Is Not Enough Wall” (2007), which examines the act of looking at the outside world from inside an enclosed space.
The building, which dates to 1907, is a shining example of modern industrial architecture, combining as it does a reinforced concrete skeleton and roof structure of Polonceau trusses with large-scale elements such as the symmetrical towers flanking the main section of the building. Having served many different purposes over the course of its 100-year existence, the building reflects how industry evolved during the 20th century. Before 1945 it was used first as a theatre workshop, then as an engine and lamp factory, a production facility for corsets and mattresses, and by the metal and wood industries for – among other things – military purposes. After the war it was used as a picture frame factory by the Düsseldorf company F.G Conzen.
Renovation work in 2007 strengthened the generic, flexible character of the building, while making a clear typological intervention to reflect its contemporary use as an art repository and exhibition space. The spatial characteristics were revealed by removing small fixtures, exposing the skeleton structure and retaining the original staircases and steel windows. At the same time a modern roof extension where the company lettering used to stand updated the building in a way that clearly expresses its new use while also creating a connection to the city: from the ground the building is visible from far off, from the roof terrace visitors can look out over the urban landscape.
Kuehn Malvezzi, founded in Berlin in 2001 by the architects Simona Malvezzi and Johannes and Wilfried Kuehn, has become a leader in exhibition and museum space design. Its references include the architectural design for Documenta 11 in Kassel (2002), the extension for the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection at the Museum für Gegenwart in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (2004), the JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION in Düsseldorf (2007), and the renovations at the Liebieghaus sculpture museum in Frankfurt am Main (2008) and at the Belvedere in Vienna (2009). The team’s award-winning design for the Humboldt Forum in Berlin is a much-discussed contribution to the debate surrounding the reconstruction of Berlin City Palace and involves presenting the palace as a process and public display. The work of Kuehn Malvezzi architects has been shown in solo and group exhibitions around the world, including at the German pavilion at the 10th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. Kuehn Malvezzi was awarded the Deutscher Kritikerpreis in 2009. www.kuehnmalvezzi.com