Visitor Center Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt

  • task:
  • New visitor center on the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt, additional Buildings for exhibition area and complementary uses on the eastern slope of the site
  • client:
  • City Darmstadt
  • procedure type:
  • Restricted structural engineering and landscape planning competition with urban planning ideas, 2018
  • size:
  • 2.000 sqm
  • technical planner:
  • YLA (Landscape architects) | Dr. Kreutz und Partner (structural engineer) |
  • team:
  • Magnus Reich | Gerardina Cestara | Franzisca Schwarz
  • The Institute Mathildenhöhe and the Museum Künstlerkolonie became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Therefor a new Visitor Center that located on the east side of the campus, and near the Ernst Ludwig House, welcomes visitors and provides additional exhibition and lecture space.

    The main level, where visitors enter the exhibition area, is oriented east to west and has a slight (4%) grade, thus orienting toward Mathildenhöhe to the west. Once the visitor has reached the highest point, the view opens to the east is directed to Rosenhöhe and to the neighboring Schaulager. A skylight provides a view to the top of the historic wedding tower.

    The Visitor Center is a pavilion surrounded by transparent and a row of fine pillars generates a spatial east-west-orientation. The barrier-free organisation of the main level facilitates flexible arrangement of furniture and exhibits, enhances the instructional setting, and, thanks to the circulation pattern and outside doors, secures short escape routes.

    An internal ramp following the natural slope cuts through the gently rising main level and leads to the bistro with a view of the green space, offers a place to linger, away from the hustle and bustle of the streams of visitors. On this level are organized as well the closets/storage/bathroom facilities and the administration of the new Institute.

    Following the natural slope to the east, two adjunct buildings offer space and open areas for other cultural uses. Their volumes communicate to the directly adjacent buildings.