Schiller National Museum Marbach, Modern Literature, Stirling Prize, German Architecture Photo

Schiller National Museum

Building at Marbach am Neckar, Germany – renewal design by David Chipperfield Architects

10 Nov 2009

The Schiller National Museum to be officially reopened

Design: David Chipperfield Architects, UK

Schiller National Museum, Marbach Building
photograph © Christian Richters, from David Chipperfield Architects 2007

Schiller National Museum Marbach

The Schiller National Museum in Marbach am Neckar will be officially reopened in the presence of Federal President Horst Koehler on 10 November 2009, the 250th anniversary of Friedrich Schiller’s birthday, following a restoration by David Chipperfield Architects.

After three years of planning and construction, the museum will present a new permanent exhibition of literature in the 18th and 19th centuries in 700 exhibits over nine rooms and 450 square meters.

Built in 1903, the Schiller National Museum forms an ensemble of buildings situated on the hills overlooking the Neckar valley, together with the German Literature Archive, built in the 1970s, and the Museum of Modern Literature, completed by David Chipperfield Architects in 2006,. Free from war damage, and in continuous use since its completion, the historic material is conserved in several main parts of the building.

The attic was rebuilt several years earlier during the restoration of the roof, the façade and the windows. The interior restoration, recently completed by David Chipperfield Architects, includes the exhibition rooms on the main floor as well as the rooms at the lower level.

Schiller National Museum info from David Chipperfield Architects

Marbach Museum of Modern Literature – Further Information

Schiller National Museum Marbach – design : David Chipperfield Architects

Stirling Prize 2007 Winner


Images + Text from David Chipperfield Architects 2007

The museum is located in Marbach’s scenic park, on top of a rock plateau overlooking the valley of the Neckar River. As the birthplace of the dramatist Friedrich Schiller, the town’s park already held the National Schiller Museum, built in 1903, and the Archive for German Literature, built in the 1970s. Displaying artefacts from the extensive 20th century collection from the Archive for German Literature, notably the original manuscripts of Franz Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ and Alfred Döblin’s ‘Berlin Alexanderplatz’, the museum also provides panoramic views across and over the distant landscape.

Marbach Museum on the Schiller National Museum page
Museum of Modern Literature photo © Christian Richters, issued by David Chipperfield Architects 2007

Embedded in the topography, the museum reveals different elevations depending on the viewpoint. By utilising the steep slope of the site, terraces allow for the creation of very different characters – an intimate, shaded entrance on the brow of the hill facing the National Schiller Museum with its forecourt and park, and a grander, more open series of tiered spaces facing the valley below. A pavilion-like volume is located on the highest terrace, providing the entrance to the museum.

The interiors of the museum reveal themselves as one descends down through the loggia, foyer and staircase spaces, preparing the visitor for the dark timber-panelled exhibition galleries, illuminated only by artificial light due to fragility and sensitivity of the works on display. At the same time, each of these environmentally controlled spaces borders onto a naturally lit gallery, balancing views inward to the composed, internalized world of texts and manuscripts with the green and scenic valley on the other side of the glass.

Museum Modern Literature on the Schiller National Museum page
Museum of Modern Literature photograph © Christian Richters, received from David Chipperfield Architects 2007

Marbach Museum of Modern Literature info from David Chipperfield Architects 041007

Location: Schiller National Museum, Marbach am Neckar, Germany

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Marbach Museum building : RIBA European Award 2007

Comments welcome re Schiller National Museum Marbach building renewal design by David Chipperfield Architects, London, UK.