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Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop

Project type: Museum


Location: Ahrenshoop, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany


Time: 2008


Art Museum Ahrenshoop


Expression, experimentation and a close relationship to nature– the values that have underlined the work of the artists of Ahrenshoop for decades – serve as the basis for the design of this museum. The Ahrenshoop artists’ colony has tirelessly asserted its presence and given rise to new ways of thinking and seeing in the face of mainstream norms and the dominant establishment. It has questioned, experimented with and redefined conventions.


The genius loci of this area in the far north of Germany testifies to the freedom of this enduring search, 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 on the interior.


The use of thatch as cladding makes an iconographic connection to regional construction techniques while embedding it in its natural surroundings. The traditional role of thatch as a roofing material comes full circle as the roof descends towards the ground and begins to merge with the topography from whence it came.


The interior circulation follows a spiral path that winds up through the building. The primary spaces are interwoven but can also be closed off for private use. The space unfolds as one visits the exhibition in a series of views that reveal the depth of the interior. Views from the building’s prow look out onto a neighbouring sculpture park and to the dikes on the horizon.


Slots in the roof refer to the formal structure of beams in traditional thatch buildings and allow diffuse light to pass into the exhibition spaces, illuminating all areas with natural light. The building’s economically attractive thatch and timber construction is a sustainable and extraordinarily durable option that also acts as an efficient insulator. The building’s materiality enters into a dialogue with its natural and cultural surroundings.


The design follows the cradle-to-cradle principles outlined by Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart. The materials used can be up-cycled, are non-toxic and are regionally produced.