Architecture / Jugendstil-Building / Refurbishment

General refurbishment // At the end of the 20th century, an increasing number of deficiencies regarding structural engineering and building physics were detected in the structure of the Jugendstil building, which was erected in 1907. In general, the old and new buildings are no longer suitable for exhibitions complying with international standards under climatic, safety-related and constructional aspects. In 2009 the city council approved the general refurbishment carried out between 2010 and 2013. In addition to installation engineering measures, the area needed and the quality of the spaces are being optimised taking the historical spatial structure and the requirements of monument protection into account.
In order to precisely formulate the refurbishment needs, the restoration work was preceded by an exact examination of the surface areas and structural shells. In addition to a stocktaking under aspects of building physics that revealed severe damages and safety risks, a building-historical analysis established the heritage value. The original building was well documented by a festschrift from 1907. Numerous drafts, plans and photographs from the estate of Hermann Billing conveyed an excellent impression of the architect’s will to design. Based on this, it was possible to draw up a usage concept that cautiously adapted the spatial structure to present-day needs. The aim was to reconstruct the historical sequence of rooms from 1909. In the process, the daylight ceilings that were covered by wood planking in the exhibition halls on the top floor were opened. By removing more recently installed walls and intermediate ceilings, it was possible to expand the exhibition area on the ground floor. Space was created in the eastern ground-floor wing for the Graphic Collection, including a presentation hall and depot, based on the model of the Graphic Cabinet and the Art-historical Institute from the year 1913. During the course of refurbishment, moisture damages in the basement were remedied, the sandstone facade affected by scaling and stone disintegration was restored and the missing outer step of the Löwen Portal was restored. There were only insufficient escape and rescue routes on the top floor, and fire and safety protection was also unsatisfactory.

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