Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop

Project type: Museum


Location: Ahrenshoop, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany


Time: 2008


Art Museum Ahrenshoop


Expressiveness, experimentation and a close relationship to nature have been fundaments to the artists of Ahrenshoop for decades and serve as the basis for the design of this museum. The Ahrenshoop artists’ colony has inexhaustibly developed new concepts in defiance of establishment and prevailing norms. The conventional is reinvented, questioned, and contravened.


The genius loci of this area in the far north of Germany testifies to the freedom of this enduring search, offering everlasting discovery through the experience of its light, natural materials, and ancient landscapes. GRAFT’s intention is therefore to create a structure that commits itself to the spirit of innovation within the framework of proven techniques and local materials. The building rests in nature as a distinctive volume in the landscape, allowing its surroundings to impact the interior.


The use of thatch cladding draws an iconographic connection to regional construction techniques while imparting a unity with nature. The traditional role of thatch as a roofing material is furthered as the roof covering reaches toward its origins and begins to merge with the topography.


Interior circulation follows a spiral path that winds up through the building. Primary spaces are interwoven, but may also be closed off for private use. In navigating the exhibition, the space is deciphered through a series of views that reveal the depth of the interior. Views from the building’s prow open to a neighboring sculpture park and to the dikes on the horizon.


Slits in the roof quote the formalism of beams that occur in traditional thatch buildings and divert diffuse light into all the exhibition spaces, endowing all areas with natural. The building’s economically attractive thatch and timber construction is a sustainable and extraordinarily durable option which offers efficient insulation. The building’s materiality engages in a dialogue with the natural and cultural surroundings.


The design follows the Cradle-to-Cradle principles of Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart. Implemented materials allow up-cycling, and are nontoxic and regionally manufactured.