Schloss Mannheim

Mannheim
Photo © blocher partners
Photo © blocher partners
Photo © blocher partners
Architects
blocher partners
Address
Bismarckstraße, 68161 Mannheim
Year
2007
Client
Land Baden-Württemberg vertreten durch Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg
Brief
remodelling and modernisation
Size
17,300 sqm

Venerable walls | With their revitalization of the Mannheim Palace, blocher partners has given a prime example of how to make an historical building work for contemporary purposes. In 2001, the firm commenced its renovation of the palace, including the university premises. Through several phases, the baroque building was carefully restored to its former glory and given new accents.

The re-design and expansion of the museum, as well as the merging of the departmental libraries of the University of Mannheim, presented major challenges. For one thing, the architects were committed to respecting and preserving the authenticity of baroque architecture. But they also need to create contemporary and economical structures that could adapt to future needs. In addition, the architects aimed to strengthen the palace's position as an historical focal point in the city. Based on an enlightened understanding of tradition, the architects developed a concept for the structure's corps des logis – intertwining history, present and future.

The restored mansard roof returned baroque proportions to the central building. This made it possible to move the university's scattered library collection into one central location. At the same time, this move freed up space in the ground floor and first floor, so that a coherent exhibition could be formed from the existing body of the museum, whose collection is thematically divided between decorative art and objects.

The library as well as additional rooms (including space for seminars and administrative offices) extend from the central block into the two side towers. In order to make maximal use of the ten-metre-high spaces under the mansard roofs that flank the central tower, the architects introduced two additional levels, including a gallery, above the second floor. This was done using 17-metre-long girders to distribute the weight of the library onto the outer walls.

The architects practically gutted the central tower: The temporary ceilings installed after World War II would not work with the new design. Both new floors of the central tower were suspended as free levels of the newly integrated roof construction, at a clear distance from the walls. In this way, a deliberate distance was maintained between past and present, with an emphasis on the contemporary interpretation of the space.

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