Located in Cologne, Germany, a city that was almost completely destroyed in World War II, the Kolumba Museum houses the art collection of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, which covers more than a thousand years.
Zumthor draft gently rises from the ruins of a late Gothic church, respecting the site’s history and preserving its essence. “They (the Archdiocese) believe in the intrinsic values of art, its ability to make us think and feel, their spiritual values. This project came from the inside out, and from the place,” explained Zumthor at the opening of the museum.
Zumthor, always aware of the use of materials, in particular the construction details, gray brick has been used to unite the fragments destroyed the place. These fragments include the remains of the Gothic church, stone ruins of the Roman and medieval chapel and the “Madonna of the Ruins” made in 1950 by German architect Gottfried Böhm.
The gray brick facade incorporates the remains of the facade of the church in a new image for the museum of contemporary art. Articulated drilling, brick masonry provides diffused light that floods the specific areas of the museum. As the seasons progress, “the dappled light and play moves through the ruins, creating a peaceful environment in constant change.
The museum has 16 exhibition halls of different and, in the heart of building a secret backyard garden – a secluded and quiet for reflection.
Materials play an important role in the overall design and Zumthor, known for taking the time to develop projects, employed long enough to find the perfect material. Handmade by Tegler Petersen of Denmark, the bricks were developed specifically for this project, cooked with charcoal to achieve a warm tone.