At present, the art museum occupies an ancient castle that is under heritage protection and structurally unsuitable for modern curation. It maintains a collection of world-renowned art pieces, especially from the Modernist period, including works by Kirchner, Feininger, Klee and El Lissitzky. Only 5 percent of the collection is currently on display.

Moritzburg Art Museum

TYPE Cultural, Museum, Public space
STATUS Competition
LOCATION Moritzburg, Germany
YEAR 2004
CLIENT Undisclosed
The competition was launched to develop a new extension located in the upper levels of the west wing ruin, combined with a reorganisation of the existing spaces.
Plasma Studio urban strategy sought to increase the porosity of the fortress; which at the moment can only be accessed by a bridge. Two additional accesses were introduced to encourage circulation through the castle, strengthening its connection to the city fabric.
The castle stands out as a collection of parts, each incorporating the technological and cultural tools of their respective period. Following that tradition, we developed a structure that sits on top of the existing medieval cross vaults and incorporates their structural scale, but that is rendered fully contemporary in its material organisation (i.e. steel) and beyond. It is parametrically derived and controlled–not a finished product, but a dynamic armature that can respond to a variety of factors and be calibrated to meet the delicate heritage demands of the old castle.
Two additional entrances are proposed to access the central courtyard, integrating the castle into the city's circulation system.
From a thorough analysis of the existing cross vaults in the lower floors of the west wing, a series of folds were derived as a contemporary structural method and became instrumental to the visual and functional experience of the visitor. Ramps, escalators and oblique planes unfold in a choreography of fluid spatial sequences incorporating a dialogue between the new and the old.
The parametric structure incorporates a twist to direct the shed skylights due north. A platform negotiates the interior of the castle with the lower lying riverfront. It acts as a bandstand and terrace for the museum cafe.
When approached from the main circulation loop, the pleated insertion produces a calm scenographic staging for the artwork. Seen from the other direction, the insertion appears as a series of frames.
The empty shell that will house the new extension sits on top of a two-storey basement.
The new extension was 'bred' as a contemporary sibling to the existing Gothic basements below.
The shorter glazed faces that fill the triangular gaps between the old castle walls enable the visitor to see the relationship between old and new, interior and exterior, above and below.