Arp Museum
Richard Meier & Partners

September 28, 2007 /

Remagen-Rolandseck, Germany

Photo: Roland Halbe

The translucent tower walls illuminate the shaft and elevators, with added illumination and hints of views provided by transparent glass slots in the tower walls.

The design of the Arp Museum represents the seamless integration of the building's spectacular site with the museum's mission to showcase the work of the Dadaist Master Hans Arp and his circle.

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

One of the unique features of the region in which the museum is located is the series of medieval castles that line a 35-mile stretch of the river Rhine. The Arp Museum, sited on a wooded escarpment overlooking the Rhine, is intended to respond to and echo the forms of these captivating relics.

Photo: Roland Halbe

The structure's entry sequence does not begin in the museum proper, but rather at the base of the bank-side mountain, in the old village railway station, used since the 1960s as an exhibition space. The lowest level of the station functions as the main entrance to the new museum building, which is reached only gradually by a series of carefully modulated tunnels and shafts that burrow into and up through the mountain to the new building.

The first of these subterranean sequences begins from this lobby, which leads to a 40 meter long tunnel, illuminated by two continuous bands of light, that extends below ground under the railway tracks to an exhibition pavilion that stands independent of the main museum building.

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

The modest pavilion features polished concrete floors and a discreet slotted skylight; aside from providing ancillary temporary exhibition space, the pavilion also establishes a sense of expectation and uncertainty that is further reinforced by the next sequence, which materializes as another subterranean tunnel, this time 35 meters long and terminating at the bottom of a dramatic 40-meter-high shaft with access to two glass-enclosed elevators.

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

These elevators ascend through the shaft to a conical tower structure above grade. Here the translucent tower walls illuminate the shaft and elevators, with added illumination and hints of views provided by transparent glass slots in the tower walls. At the tower's apex the elevators open onto a 16-meter-long, glass-enclosed bridge which represents the final stage of the sequential promenade into the museum.

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

The entry to the museum's ground floor is flanked to the right by a freestanding staircase leading to the lower and upper levels and to the left by a void overlooking the lower-level lobby. In addition to the lobby, which offers visitors an opportunity for rest and repose, the lower level features a classroom, administrative offices, service facilities, and access for shipping and receiving art. In fact, the oversized service elevator, designed to facilitate the movement of art, also functions as the visitors' elevator and provides a galvanizing core around which the gallery spaces on the ground and upper floors are organized.

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

More specifically, at the ground level these spaces include two large galleries with access to two terraces, as well as a smaller enclosed gallery.

The spaces on the upper floor are distributed in the same manner as on the ground floor; however, rather than opening onto terraces, the two large galleries on the upper floor occupy a seemingly free-floating platform supported by columns so that they overlook the ground floor galleries at the east and west edges.

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

The two main upper-level galleries are illuminated from above by a ceiling composed almost entirely of glazing, with a series of 2-foot-wide adjustable aluminum louvers providing complete daylight or daylight modulated with artificial light. A similar, though immobile, louver system occupies the double-height glazed facade facing the Rhine, opening the museum to breathtaking views of the surrounding valley.

Photo: Roland Halbe

Photo: Roland Halbe

Designed to accommodate a unique collection of work by Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, together with works by members of their immediate circle, the museum's collection includes a wide variety of art objects including sculpture, drawings, paintings and textiles.

Facts about Arp Museum

Total area:

3,400 square meters

Client Representative:

Landesbetrieb Bau, Koblenz

Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Principal in Charge:

Richard Meier

Design Partner:

Bernhard Karpf

Project Architect:

Stefan Scheiber


Bernhard Stocker
Michael Thanner


Clay Collier
James Luhur
Aaron Vaden-Youmans

Associate Architect:
Ehrensberger&Oertz Architekten


Matthias Oertz

Site Administration:

Thomas Böhling
Marco Theil
Thilo Bergmann

Structural Engineers:

Buro Happold (Schematic Design)
Draheim Ingenieure

Geotechnical Engineer:

Dietrich Beratende Ingenieure
Witt, Jehle & Kriechbaum

Mechanical Engineer:

Zibell - Willner & Partner
Freiländer & Partner

Electrical Engineer:

Müller & Bleher

Facade Consultant:

Albrecht Memmert & Partner

Lighting Consultant:

Müller & Bleher

Acoustic Consultant:

Trümper - Overath - Heimann - Römer
Ingenieurgesellschaft für Bauphysik


Ministery of Finance
Rheinland Pfalz Arp Museum
Bahnhof Rolandseck

Last updated: December 19, 2013

See also

Copyright 1999 - 2017 arcspace all rights reserved.