A New Roof by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos Turned This Ancient German Castle Into an Enlarged Exhibition Space
The Moritzburg castle in the city of Halle is exemplary of the Gothic military architecture in 15th century Germany. Despite the partial destruction of the north and west wings during the Thirty Years War, the site has managed to retain most of its original features: a surrounding wall, three of the four round towers at the corners, and a central courtyard.
But more importantly, the castle has been home to an art museum since 1904. The challenge arose when this exhibition space needed to be expanded, without modifying or adding onto the original columns. With some genius and creativity, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos created a new exhibition space based on a single, clear architectural idea: a new roof.
The Moritzburg castle was already host to a notable collection of modern art, mostly German Expressionism paintings, for over a century. So when the museum received a large donation by one of the most valuable private collections of the Die Brücke Expressionist group, they knew they would need more space to accommodate these incoming works.
Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos’ solution was to design a new roof as a large platform, and fold it so that it rises and breaks to allow natural light to enter. In doing so, the original floor was left untouched, and no columns needed to be inserted into the main gallery.
Two new vertical communication cores were also built to further enlarge the space. The first, located in the North wing, connects different levels together. The second is a new 25-meter high tower that provides access to new exhibition areas as well as views over the city.
The visual geometry of an angular metal tower built along the castle’s existing irregular shape and high roofs creates an interesting new aspect to the castle. The architects believe that these new developments will only to add to the interesting history of the Moritzburg Castle over time, and enhance the image of the romantic ruin.