John Pawson converts WW2 bunker into museum of Southeast Asian art in Berlin

John Pawson converts WW2 bunker into museum of Southeast Asian art in Berlin

Architectural designer John Pawson has transformed a pair of second-world-war telecommunication bunker into an art and furniture museum in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood.

tfgrf

The Feuerle Collection is a private museum hosting the contemporary art, Imperial Chinese furniture, and ancient Southeast Asian art collections of Désiré Feuerle.

hgfff

Pawson’s first major project in Berlin, it features exhibition spaces with the designer’s characteristically minimalist style.

“It is difficult to think of places more charged with atmosphere than these monumental concrete structures,” said Pawson.

nbvc

“They fall very much into the category of ‘engineers’ architecture that so appealed to [minimalist artist] Donald Judd,” he continued. “I knew from the beginning when I visited the site and first had that visceral experience of mass that I wanted to use as light a hand as possible.”

Sculpture and furniture pieces dating from the 7th to 13th century are set alongside contemporary artworks by artists including Anish Kapoor.

bd

Two primary exhibition spaces are positioned on the ground floors and lower-ground level of the 6,480-square-metre museum.

de

They are accompanied at ground level by an additional space for temporary exhibitions, and on the lower ground floor by three themed rooms: Sound Room, Lake Room and Incense Room. While the main parts of the building opened earlier this year, these spaces will have their debut in the first half of 2017.

4er

The two bunkers are connected at basement level, where the aging concrete columns and ceiling are left exposed.

6tg

Here, visitors to the Sound Room will be asked to leave their mobile phones at the entrance, to ensure an experience of the artworks within without distraction. The room will be filled with “minimalistic tones and silences” by American composer John Cage to help visitors concentrate on the pieces.

6tgc

The Lake Room will offers an unusual view of a lake on the lower floor of the building. This artificial water body will be used to heat the museum via a geothermal heat pump, transferring heat from the ground.

y5

The Incense Room will highlight the significance of China’s ancient incense ceremonies, “a spiritual discipline where, by absorbing the energy from the good scents, one observes one’s body and mind.”

“Concentrating all the effort on making pristine surfaces would never have felt appropriate here,” said Pawson. “Instead this has been a slow, considered process – a series of subtle refinements and interventions that intensify the quality of the space, so that all the attention focuses on the art.”

6rygf

“Intervention has been purposefully kept to a minimum, respectful always of the ways in which nature, man and the passage of time have made their marks on the fabric of the buildings,” he added.

“Rather than grand gestures, the focus of the effort has fallen on the subtle calibration of key thresholds, on the spatial narrative through the galleries, on the quality of the light and on specific, quietly charged sensory encounters.”

tyg3

John Pawson and OMA have just completed a minimalist overhaul of the 1960s Commonwealth Institute in west London, converting it into a new home for London’s Design Museum.

Bram Vreeker

Bram Vreeker

Bram Vreeker is the internationally bestselling author of eleven novels. A pioneer in internet marketing, Vreeker started the first marketing firm for authors and is one of the founding board members of Silly Kitty. Vreeker also teaches an online marketing class to help authors get buzz for their books.


Related Articles

Colonnades frame landscaped courtyards at Buddhist retreat in rural England

This Buddhist retreat by Walters & Cohen Architects features a cluster of pitched-roof structures arranged around tranquil courtyards in the English countryside. The Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre

Quadrangle Architects transforms brick warehouse in Toronto into creative workspaces

Canadian firm Quadrangle Architects has transformed a 19th-century brick building once used to store wine into a workspace for designers,

Nordic’s Villa Vatnan is a hilltop house with a view over a Norwegian city

Nordic Office of Architecture has completed a concrete and glass house on the outskirts of Trondheim, Norway, that offers its occupants impressive