The Danish architecture firm Cobe, led by Dan Stubbergaard, has won the international competition to design a new Visitor Center at the Kyffhäuser Monument – Germany’s third largest monument and a historic 10th Century castle ruin.
Set for completion in 2022, the Visitor Center is conceived as a simple ‘cut’ in the sandstone cliffs – merging architecture and landscape through a large green roof that rests softly on the surrounding cliffs. A funicular lift connects the Visitor Center to the monument 80 meters above, providing the necessary infrastructure for the thousands of tourists who visit the site annually.
Located in the Kyffhäuser Mountains in Eastern Germany, the Kyffhäuser Monument attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually. It is a historically invaluable site that combines ancient 10th Century castle ruins with impressive tributes to the Emperor’s Wilhelm I and Frederick Barbarossa. Located 80 meters below the monument, the new Visitor Center will become an extension of the sandstone cliffs, built into the stone landscape.
Visitors can explore an exhibition devoted to the history of the ruins and monument, sit on a terraced forecourt with uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains, or ride the funicular lift that connects the Visitor Center with the Castle and Monument on the ridge of the Kyffhäuser Mountains.
Where building and landscape meet
The future Visitor Center has a discrete design that merges landscape and building, and seen from above, the building disappears into the surrounding landscape and forests. It is constructed in locally sourced timber, providing a warm and natural material counterpoint to the raw expression of the cliffs. In addition to the environmental benefits of building in wood, this construction technique also improves the indoor microclimate for visitors and employees.
A large green roof collects rainwater, which is recycled and repurposed to service the Visitor Center. Beneath the roof, floor-to-ceiling windows create a bright and open interior that allows a visual connection between the cliffs and arrival forecourt. The lift station forms the heart of the Visitor Center, and is framed by an exhibition area, regional market, research offices, gift shop and restrooms. Source by Cobe,