James Stirling + Partner

Wallraf-Richartz Museum     Cologne

1   b

Breslauer Platz   2228

"Our proposal for the sites north and south of the Hohenzollern bridge is to develop them in a way that will frame and unify the separate monuments of the cathedral, the railway station and the Hohenzollern bridge; to seek integration and find an urban resolution for the railway area--"an urban vacuum a quarter of a century after the war." The new buildings designed for both sites (Breslauer plaza to the north of the railway tracks and Museum plaza to the south) are grouped and massed in deference to the cathedral and in response to the gateway aspect (drawbridge) of the Hohenzollern bridge crossing the Rhine on the axis of the cathedral.

Gateway building (monumental) are positioned on either side of the bridge. Semi-enclosed within these buildings are circular plazas overlooked by museum/river edge related shops. The equestrian statues of Wilhelm II and Friedrich which for many years stood in the open at the approaches to the Hohenzollern Bridge as repositioned in these plazas. The gateway buildings are like civic balconies or city doors overlooking the Rhine; from them ramps incline down to the river promenade and green zone along the river edge.

The 'no man's land" of railway tracks has bee screened visually and acoustically from both Museum plaza and Breslauer plaza by retaining walls which also support elevated footpaths. We have treated the edge of the railway zone like a tree-lined canal bank or river edge. Toward the river edge the height of new buildings increases to be more in scale with that of the bridge; however this is at point further removed from the cathedral."
Extracts from Competition Report in Peter Arnell and Ted Bickford, editors, James Stirling: Buildings and Projects (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1984), p. 207.

Palais des Congrès: Ramp/Architectural Promenade     3122f 3122g 3122h

Towards a Metabolic Architecture
James Stirling's continuation of the promenade architecturale theme and his contributions towards a metabolic architecture; an analysis of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum design.

scale and architecture
...Wallraf-Richartz Museum. The issues of scale are lessons on how to design around, and in respect/deference to large urban scaled realities, i.e., railroad terminal and massive cathedral. The scale issues are reflected in the design of the building itself: the monumental gateway buildings, the lowering of scale towards the cathedral, and the treatment of the railway yard as a wide canal.
I could compare the stone work of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum with the stone work of the Customs House of the Packhof, the Altes Museum, and even the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen. ...a comparison of the different museum plans would make a nice documentation.
There may be other issues of scale when considering the Breslauer Platz half of the whole design.

regarding the Wallraf-Richartz Museum
I wonder if the Wallraf-Richartz Museum next to St. Peter's Square would be interesting?

Stirling interpretations    

Wallraf-Richartz Museum

project notes
The Berlin Science Center, as well as the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and the Florence Center and the Bayer Complex--all projects by Stirling/Wilford--all have a clear influence on Parkway Interpolation.

Stirling's Muses
Part 3 will be all about the Wallraf-Richartz Museum -Palais des Congrès connection where the promenade architecturale is the total theme. Part 3 will link to Part 2 of Promenade Architecturale: the formula.

animated gifs @ Quondam
...showing a model being pieced together part by part... ...the Wallraf-Richartz Museum.

Promenade Architecturale part II
...present new rendered images of Villa Savoye, Palais des Congrès, and Wallraf-Richartz Museum as white models only (or as color coded model renderings). ...clearly state the intersection of the architectural promenade formula with Stirling's Muses--both topics relate directly to the architectural promenade documentation.
....Stirlings use of the architectural promenade formula at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum.

new Quondam
...exaggeratingly distort the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in the z direction.

1999.09.29 18:35
the formula in words
What makes this formula even more interesting is that it is evident in other building, by architects other than Le Corbusier, and both after and before Le Corbusier's time. First, the very same formula is implemented within Stirling/Wilford's Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, 1977. Just as Le Corbusier elaborates and distorts the formula late in his life within the design of the Palais des Congrès, Stirling too further distorts the promenade route at Cologne. Then the same promenade architectural formula is found in Terragni's Danteum, and here the formula is even more clear, both symbolically and formally--first the forest, then the dark concentrated interior of the Inferno, then the inside-outside realm of Purgatory (limbo), and finally Heaven with its invisible columns and invisible roof. Again, an ongoing passage of ascent leading to an ultimate goal. From here the promenade architecturale formula is present in Schinkel's Altes Museum, Berlin, the Pantheon in Rome, and even along the via Triumphalis as delineated by Piranesi within the Ichnographia Campus Martius.

Language & Voice
A "perceptually effective sequence" is something that an architect can intentionally design. Le Corbusier did it at the Villa Savoye, which is "understandable" without referencing any literary source. Le Corbusier also did it within the Palais des Congrès (1964), Terragni did it within the Danteum (1938), and James Stirling did it within the Museum for Nordrhine-Westfalen (1975) and within the Wallraf-Richartz Museum (1975). Sadly, none of these buildings was ever executed, hence their designs are not prominent examples within architectural history. It was precisely because of the sequences within these designs however, that prompted me to create computer models of these buildings (in the early 1990s). I also wrote several articles and essay on the "promenade architecturale" which were published at www.quondam.com. My point now is that had these buildings been built, just maybe there might now be a far better understanding (and hence better teaching) of just how effective a deliberately designed architectural sequence can be.
Granted, any architect designed "preferred route" can be misunderstood or even ignored by a building's user, but that shouldn't prevent architects from at least trying to add "architectural language" to how a building is moved through.
What I find most interesting about designing architectural sequence is that the sequence itself is not actual form, rather the gaps between actual forms. For me, it's another example of learning from lacunae.

Museum Collecting
On the virtual side: Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, House 10/Museum, Museum of Knowledge, Museum of Arts & Crafts (2), Altes Museum, Museum of Architecture, Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum Annex, Working Title Museum(s), Acropolis Q, Haus der Kunst.

2008.05.29 09:27
Can you say canonical?
Moretti: Casa del Girasole (Eisenman)
Mies: Seagrams (Eisenman)
Le Corbusier: Palais des Congrès (me)
Le Corbusier: Olivetti Center Milan (me)
Kahn: Dominican Sisters Convent (me)
Venturi & Rauch: Franklin Court (me)
Stirling: Leicester Engineering (Eisenman, "Real and English")
Stirling: Nordrhine/Westfalen Museum (me)
Stirling: Wallraf-Richartz Museum (me)
Rossi: Modena Cemetery (Eisenman)
Koolhaas: Patent Office (me)
Libeskind: who cares (me)
Gehry: Wagner Residence and other residences of that era (me, just to be a bit obscure)

2008.06.28 08:47
Can you say canonical?
A close reading of Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000 very much discloses a sublimated implicit nth canonical building, videlicet Quondam, a virtual museum of architecture: 1996-. [Elaboration forthcoming most likely elsewhere.]
The stars of Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000, somewhat ironically, are not actual buildings at all, viz. the Palais des Congrès-Strasbourg (1962-64) and the Jessieu Libraries (1992-93). In the Forward, Stan Allen refers to the Palais des Congrès as a "previously somewhat overlooked building." As it happened, Arcadia's 1991 published analysis of the Palais des Congrès became one of the corner stones of Quondam. Was Koolhaas aware of Arcadia's analysis within the Loeb Library at Harvard?
In a geometrically progressive sense, Eisenman describes canonical buildings as designs which themselves manifest a close reading. Albeit requiring a 'photo-finish', Stirling wins the "architect as close reader" award, with many close seconds. Stirling perfected the reenactionary architecturism kick.
While reading/skimming through Ten Canonical Buildings: 1950-2000, I often wish Koolhaas was the author rather than Eisenman (although Eisenman does indeed set a fine stage himself), but, alas, Koolhaas has already designed another nth canonical building, viz. OMA's Patent Office:
"Social Condenser" (1982)
"Strategy of the Void I" (Planning) (1987)
"Timed Erasures" (1991)
"Loop-Trick" (1987)
"Strategy of the Void II" (Building) (1989)
"Stacked Freedoms" (1989)
"Inside-Out City" (1993)
"Disconnect" (1994)
"Everywhere and Nowhere" (1994)
"Variable Speed Museum" (1995)
"Inertness Modified" (1997)
Tall a& Slender (1996)
Skyscraper Loop (2002)
"Cake-tin Architecture" (2002)
"The End of the Road" (2003)

promenade architecturale architecture     3123e




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