Carmen Würth Forum

David Chipperfield Architects, Künzelsau, 2017

 

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The centre is designed to be a cultural centre and event space for Wurth employees and the local community 

Simon Menges     Download Original

  • The centre is designed to be a cultural centre and event space for Wurth employees and the local community    
  • The centre can accommodate events ranging from intimate concerts and readings to sports tournaments and festivals    
  • The building sits close to but distinct from the company’s main headquarters and distribution centre    
  • The hard-wearing polyurethane floor    
  • The whole building has a tightly functional, spare feeling    
  • The space is lit by glazing around a gallery-cum-walkway    
  • The building is akin to a light-industrial shed    
  • Site plan    
  • Basement plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Section AA    
  • Section BB    
  • Isometry view from south-west    
  • Facade details    

David Chipperfield Architects has created a functional and elegant events space for the staff of a multinational fastening company in Germany.

The Carmen Würth Forum consists of a series of spaces of varied size: a 3,500-capacity event hall, a 600-seat chamber concert hall, and an ‘exterior room’ or event ground designed for up to 10,000 people. With this choice of spaces, it can accommodate events ranging from intimate concerts and readings to sports tournaments and festivals.

At the building’s front entrance, a forecourt has been cut in. This overlooks the 10,000-person event ground to the south, which is serviced with all necessary facilities – power, water, sewerage and Wi-Fi – to support any format of event. The forecourt, which can be used for events, features two concrete flanking walls holding the mass of hill back to either side. These are visibly layered in alternating cream and rose-coloured concrete, textured with shell limestone and bush-hammered. They contrast with the main building’s slender steel frame and cool, smooth grid of its main entrance front sitting between them.

Inside, the planning continues to be orthogonal and logical. One enters through a large lateral lobby, with a coat-check island and toilets off to the left. This space is lined in warm perforated ash and striking red polyurethane floor. It is the Würth livery colour and appears insistently on most of the group’s buildings, but in this building is contained as low-level horizontal accents on the lobby floor and on seating in the chamber concert hall. The latter is accessed off the lobby to the right, but the doors immediately opposite the main entrance lead to the Grosser Saal or Grand Hall. 

This you enter at the lowest level, where the building is sunk into the hill: a huge rectangular space with bleacher-type seating to the left and service-access doors opposite. The space is lit by glazing around a gallery-cum-walkway, which wraps around the top of the space, and opens out to a terrace level with the surrounding hillside, enjoying spectacular views.

The other main space, the Reinhold Würth chamber music hall, is contrastingly cocoon-like, buried deeper in the hill, a classic shoebox shape, ideal for chamber music. Its acoustics are aided by a carefully attuned choice of materials, from the visually rich French walnut-lined walls to the serried rows of plush red seating.  

The façade adopts the segmentation of the supporting structure, both horizontally and vertically. Vertically, each field comprises two large glass panels connected by a glass butt joint. The façade’s horizontal elements have been slightly rotated and joined in an overlapping manner in the area of the profile. This slight rotation of the façade elements protects the hall against flutter echoes through the non-absorbent glass surfaces. The glazing is a triple thermal insulation glazing; the doors are opaque and externally clad in glass, including the frame. 

All façade profiles are constructed from aluminium and powder-coated in a uniform shade of grey. Inside, full-coverage textile blinds with sides tracks allow for dimming and acoustic damping of the space. Translucent stainless-steel micro-louvres provide flexible external solar shading.

Data

  • Begun: 2016
  • Completed: 2017
  • Floor area: 11,000m2
  • Sectors: Arts and culture, Office
  • Address: Am Forumsplatz 1, Künzelsau, 74653, Germany

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