A two-story wing has been added to the “Josef Albers Museum Quadrat”, situated in Bottrop’s historical park Stadtgarten. It accommodates temporary exhibitions and additional space for museum education, art storage and the workshop.
The new structure is situated to the northeast of the judge’s villa from 1913 and the museum buildings by Bernhard Küppers from the 1970s and ‘80s, which form the existing ensemble. The shape, materials and colours of the extension were chosen so that the different construction periods and their respective architectures remain legible but nonetheless form a new harmonic whole. The added volume has a rectangular footprint like the historical villa and is offset from the adjacent wing in such a way as to preserve the trees and the views to the north-east from the existing rooms. The pond, which was created after the last construction phase in the 1980s, has been moved a few metres closer to the access road, thus enhancing its presence.
Contrasting with Küppers’s steel and glass pavilions, the new extension appears as a compact structure with only a few deliberately placed openings, while its materials and colours refer to the older buildings. A cladding of powder-coated metal panels envelops the volume and forms a brim around the sawtooth rooflights. Along the outermost rooflight, the cladding tilts forward and generates a light funnel. In a similar fashion, the north-western facade partly unfolds to create a protected outdoor delivery area.
The ground floor on the Stadtgarten level contains the workshop, the art depot, an office and the library as well as the two educational rooms. The latter are accessed via the exhibition level and are oriented towards the pond.
Museum visitors enter the new tract via a connecting bridge from which a window affords a view of the park. The trapezoidal plan of the bridge makes it seem longer upon arrival and shorter on the way back.
The path through the eight exhibition rooms of varying dimensions is partly meandering and partly straight. Four large windows, one on each side of the building, enable visitors to enjoy vistas of the park, and passers-by to look into the museum. The works of art are largely illuminated from above by the sawtooth rooflights. The spatial proportions, the door and window openings, as well as the surface materials are selected to foster the perception of the art. Art takes priority: it has not simply been given more room in the extension; it has also been given “breathing space”.