The right tone
Kjaer og Richter opted for underground exhibition zones and a new build boasting oscillating Petersen Tegl bricks as the annex to the CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark.
The right brick for the setting and its spirit
Finding a brick with textures and hues to harmonise with the multifarious and hundreds-of-years-old brickwork in Lübeck was a key part of the design project for the European Hansemuseum.
The 95-metre long, 15-metre-tall monolithic edifice is modulated in powerful, simple shapes, reminiscent of the fortifications and city wall that once stood here. But the modern lines and features tell that this is something unmistakably new. The museum has been hewn directly into Castle Hill, where the deepest room measures 26 m. The main wing follows the river and the slight bend of the road. At the eastern end is a square tower, which harks back to what was know as the Witch Tower, which once formed part of the fortress and served a prison for alleged witches. To the west, the building turns sharply, around the corner into Kleine Altefähre, where it forms part of the narrow street’s row of gabled houses. The brickwork here is in a quatrefoil pattern – a classic motif in Gothic architecture. Around the middle, a staircase splits the façade and leads up to the museum entrance. The staircase then continues on up to the terrace, from where there are views of the river and harbour. To the right is the Friary Castle.
Choosing the right materials was of crucial importance to Andreas Heller Architects & Designers, who worked with Petersen Tegl to develop a unique brick for the museum. After many test firings, an English red clay was chosen that withstands firing at very high temperatures. The format – 305 x 105 x 65 mm – is close to that used in the Friar Castle. All 120,000 bricks were made by hand in wooden moulds. The light clay slurry used as a lubricant remains in place, leaving a semi-transparent surface after firing. The result is a unique brick with its own character, but one that reflects the play of colours and heterogeneous structure found everywhere on the historic brick façades in Lübeck.
The architects used the brick as their starting point for work on paraphrasing the medieval brickwork. The bricks that are retracted into the wall are a homage to the permanent gaps left in medieval façades when the wooden scaffolding was removed.
The custom-designed bricks for the museum were produced in three versions, with varied concentrations of the clay slurry on their surfaces: 30, 60 and 90% sludge. They were laid with the darkest at the top and the brightest at the bottom, creating a smooth gradation. The architects also wanted variations to be built into the new brickwork, to endow the building with a look similar to that found on buildings that have been in use for centuries. To this end, some of the joints are flat or retracted, creating strong shadow effects.
It is, of course, a Petersen hallmark that no pallet departs its brickyard until the bricks have been thoroughly mixed. This helps prevent dark stains and scaffolding marks. Andreas Heller Architects wanted dark, irregular areas on the façades that suggest associations with modifications and repairs to old brickwork. This makes European Hansemuseum in Lübeck the first project Petersen Brick has been involved in where the architect deliberately wanted the façade to look as if the bricks hadn’t been properly mixed!
Brick: Customised bricks measuring 305 x 105 x 65 mm made of English clay produced in three versions, with varied concentrations of the clay slurry on their surfaces: 30, 60 and 90% sludge.
Photos: Anders Sune Berg
|Colors||shades of brown|
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