Museum of Literature in Marbach
There could hardly be a more ideal location for a museum of literature than Marbach. This tranquil little city on the River Neckar has long enjoyed a reputation as a literary centre. Friedrich Schiller was born there in 1759; and in 1903, his followers erected a national museum in his honour on a hill on the outskirts of the city. Over the years, this establishment has developed into a national institution: the German Archive of Literature, which has made its presence felt since 1973 in the form of its own library and administration building.
David Chipperfield has now added a museum for modern literature (known as “LiMo”) to this ensemble. Here at last, one can present the stocks of 20th- and 21st-century literary treasures that had hitherto slumbered in stores because of the lack of suitable exhibition space.
The new building is naturally integrated in its historical surroundings: a temple-like pavilion set against the broad Neckar landscape. The greater part of the volume is concealed in the slope of the site, but the various paths and terraces invite visitors to stroll and linger there.
The interior has nothing in common with a museum of art, where white walls are hung with pictures, or sculptures stand in airy, light-filled spaces. In the museum of literature, where the rooms are clad with dark tropical wood, attention is focused on sensitive exhibits contained in showcases – a literary location, as the name implies.