documenta X

Exhibition rooms for contemporary art
4,500 sqm

Kassel Main Station, South Wing

The brief in this project, which was developed in context with documenta X, was to transform the former postal shipping office in the south wing of Kassel main station into exhibition space for contemporary art. The requirement was to keep architectural intervention to a minimum and to retain the listed building’s historical appearance. Inside, a whole patchwork of later alterations was removed to reveal the interior’s original form. A new floor screed was put in to provide sufficient load capacity and give the rooms a homogeneous look. From this horizontal level rise three staircases also required in the brief. While they are open towards the showrooms, a discreet wall prevents their forms from intruding upon the exhibition space. The linear positioning of the staircases helps guide the flow of visitors.



The project also involved the temporary adaptation of exhibition rooms in the Fridericianum for loaned works. The building did not have the technology required to create the necessary controlled environment of 55 % humidity, 18°C room temperature, and 70 lux.

The opaque panels built into the outside windows were given a reflective coating to reduce solar gain during the summer. The rubber insulation of the windows was removed to facilitate a constant flow of air, which was diffused in the interior by an auxiliary shell. Windows in the corners of the exhibition rooms and vents were opened to generate suction and thus ensure constant ventilation. The underfloor heating, linked up with the greywater system via a heat exchanger, was used to cool the ceilings. The flow of visitors during opening hours inevitably raises the room temperature but also entails an increased use of sanitary facilities. This makes more (cold) greywater available for the heat exchange system. The fluctuations in temperature inside the building are thus regulated in a very simple manner which turns the cause into the solution.