The new outdoor sculpture by Alice Aycock was handed over to the public on September 11. The new extension of the Sprengel Museum opened to the public on September 19th and 20th. After three years of planning and building, the new spaces by Meilli + Peter architects from Zurich will host the exhibition "10 Spaces, 3 Loggias and a Hall" that show contemporary artist installations by Maria Sosnowska, Neil Beloufa, Ceil Floyer, Ann Veronica Janssens, Manfred Pernice to name just a few.
The expansion provides the museum with an additional 1,400 m² of exhibition space. Technical rooms such as workshops, storerooms and special climate-controlled storage facilities for photographs supplement the museum’s capacities at the highest stage, making further major donations a reality. The expansion makes it possible to permanently present works of art to the public that now have to be kept in storage because of space considerations as well to return objects from external storage facilities to the museum, making them constantly available. Finally, the expansion will have a long-term impact on the museum’s and Hannover’s development and significance as a cultural centre.
Location and Surroundings – The Expanded Sprengel Museum Hannover
The expansion supplementing the existing museum consists of a simple rectangular building. Carried by a basement level, the protruding principal floor is seemingly suspended in mid-air. The new structure as a whole holds its own as an autonomous entity with regard to the promenade running along the long side. When completed, the southeast side to the rear of the building will be surrounded by park-like grounds, through which a road for art transportation vehicles will run.
Placement – A Versatile Connecting Piece
A two-storey hall, the co-called “Placement” with its generous spiral ramps and stairs serves to connect the various levels of the existing building to the expansion. The large plaza is not only a passageway and entrance area but also forms a hall with an open spatial atmosphere that can be used as a venue for events. A wall covering made of coloured fabric abets the acoustics. The height of the ceiling is also advantageous for the installation of expansive artworks.
The glass front along the entire side of the building ensures an abundance of light. It can open up to the courtyard so that the “Placement” also serves the distribution of large-format works to all sections of the old and new buildings. The spiral ramps and stairs have been designed for this purpose with heavy loads in mind.
The Exhibition Tract – The ‘Dancing’ Rooms
The visitors to the new exhibition tract will experience a distinct enfilade with clearly understandable routes. Along with a slightly offset arrangement of the spaces, differently sized spaces and ceiling heights in the plan view lend a rhythm to the parcours: The spaces seem to ‘dance’. Three glazed loggias are situated on the seam between interior and exterior, allowing the viewer to survey the surroundings.
Facade – Built of Noble Ashlar
The ‘dancing’ spaces are embraced by a quiet, elegant concrete facade. Arranged in bands of reliefs, it takes up the rhythm of the layout of the interior spaces. The concrete is treated as masonry, ennobled by elaborate artistic interventions and complex technical processing: Its dark coloration lends it a dignified velvety impression. Diverse polishings and consistencies broaden the range of the ‘poured stone’s’ colours even further, providing the material with the capacity for reserved reflections of its surroundings.
Light – The Right Blend
A blend of daylight and artificial light is evenly distributed throughout the exhibition spaces by means of skylights. A multilayered system consisting of a sun screen on the outside with movable lamella blinds, a darkening level in the light shaft and a space-closing dust-proofing system made from textile membranes protects the artwork from direct exposure to light. The interplay of these components ensures that the correct intensity of illumination is reached.
Artificial light is arranged above the space-forming ceilings in the form of striplights that use lamps emitting both warm and cool colour temperatures. The colour temperature can be coordinated with the quantity of light and incidence of daylight. A milk glass ceiling at the top of the skylight permits brightness modulations which the visitor experiences as lively and as vital as daylight. Depending on the respective needs and weather conditions, the light ceiling as a whole is a daylight, artificial light or blended light ceiling.
As far as energy is concerned, the extension is dedicated to sustainability. Higher external and internal heating loads can be stored intermediately during the opening hours and used on a time delay circuit over a 24-hour period. Modules are thus inserted into the construction for the thermal activation of the concrete floor ceilings. Depending on the season, the system can be used for heating as well as for cooling.
The building shell with its compact form nearly fulfils the standards for a passive house with minimal heating requirements. This is based on an optimal combination between a low proportion of glass with a suitable energy transmission factor on the one hand and a good thermal isolation of the opaque structural elements on the other.