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Zaha Hadid Architects

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Museum Folkwang

  • Essen, Germany
  • 2006 – 2007
  • Neubau Museum Folkwang Essen GmbH
  • Competition / Research

This project pursued two main objectives: creating generous exhibition spaces directly connected to the existing museum building and integrating the museum and the neighbouring KWI institute into a creative campus. Our strategy organised the organic integration of exterior and interior spaces through a concept of ramification.

We extended the existing east wing northwards and split it several times to form new branches in three different directions, which create a three-dimensional fabric of interior and exterior spaces.

The highest wing bends to the north-east, marks the entrance and creates a protected forecourt. A second arm crosses the site diagonally and closes off the forecourt towards the west, whilst a third wing creates a garden court towards the south opposite the existing building.

This concept of ramification is continued inside the building to organise the connections to the different departments of the museum. From the existing building, the flow of movement is split in four directions: straight on to the department of photography and the poster museum, crossing the foyer as a bridge leading to the temporary exhibition hall, stepping down into the foyer as a grand stair continuing the exterior landscape and as a further stair leading up to the spaces of the painting and sculpture collections.

This node also forms the main vertical circulation for visitors from the foyer to the different departments. The transparent foyer connects the forecourt with the garden court, creating a generous public space which can also be kept open when the actual museum spaces are closed.




Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher

Project Leader

Jan Hübener

Design Team

Cornelius Schlotthauer, Gonzalo Carbajo, Susanne Lettau, Enrico Kleinke, Patrick Bedarf


ARUP Berlin, Florian Schenk


HHP-West Bielefeld, Heiko Zies

Mechanical Engineering

Transsolar Energietechnik Stuttgart, Volkmar Bleicher


Ulrike Brandi Licht, Hamburg

Landscape Architect

WES+Partner Hamburg, Wolfgang Betz, Michael Kaschke