Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne
Housing a major art collection, with works dating from the Middle Ages to Impressionism, the new museum is an important piece of urban planning. The complex closes a gap in the city fabric that had existed since the war, while the stepped facade of the administration and storage areas adopts the scale of the adjoining ruins of St Alban’s Church. The exhibition tract is housed in an imposing cubic structure facing the city. The facade, almost windowless on the upper floors, is articulated by large horizontal slate panels, which bear the names of artists whose work is on display. Within the strict square grid of columns, it was possible to create a different layout on each floor. The arrangement of the exhibition spaces was influenced by classical models. Each floor is devoted to a different period and has its own specific colour: intense sienna for the Middle Ages, Veronese-green for the Baroque age and the Calvinists, and pale Carrara-grey for the 19th century. The illuminated soffit ensures non-glare top-lighting, but the dark bands of the structural grid are too dominant in certain rooms and for certain pictures, too.