Licht Kunst Licht AG
Museums & Exhibitions

Museum Gunzenhauser

Chemnitz, Germany
Staab Architekten GmbH, Berlin
City of Chemnitz
Gunzenhauser Foundation
Project size
3,600 sqm
Werner Huthmacher
Overall building budget
9.5 million euros
Lighting budget
0.43 million euros

In 2007, the Collection Gunzenhauser in Chemnitz has celebrated its opening: The Berlin-based architect Volker Staab converted a former Savings Bank building originating from the 1920s and a sensitive lighting concept was tailored to suit the particular requirements of the light sensitive exhibits.

With the Museum Gunzenhauser a synthesis of a respectful approach to the old building fabric and the contemporary architecture was created and has transformed an apparently unfit building into a prestigious museum location with simple, yet efficient means. Pleasantly, the architecture visually recedes behind the extraordinary exhibits. The lighting design follows this attitude, concentrates on the art works and opts for disembodied airiness as opposed to ostensible object related design manoeuvres.

At the heart of the design the former cashier’s hall is located on the ground floor, a light flooded skylight hall with an atrium above surrounded by the exhibition spaces. The vertical access occurs through a newly constructed cascade stair well connecting the exhibition levels and professing its contemporary origin.

Since the collection is predominantly concentrating on graphics the daylight supply had to be tailored to suit the requirements of these particularly sensitive exhibits. To fulfil these standards the suitable spaces are provided with daylight quantities never raising the maximum illuminance levels on the display walls above 50 lx.

All outward facing exhibition spaces have been fitted with a shell wall serving as a display surface. Thus, the incoming daylight quantities have been substantially reduced from the start. The skylight hall and the windows facing the atrium have been retained as sources of daylight.