Identity and Culture
The Kulturbahnhof, which was opened in October 2020, is a beacon project for Aalen, a town in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. With great sensitivity, a+r Architekten have revived the location’s industrial history in the present.
▼项目概览，general view © Brigida González
The town of Aalen wanted a “beacon for culture and creativity” on the site now known as the Stadtoval, which was previously occupied by railroad tracks and later used by a construction steel company. Within the framework of this significant inner-city expansion, the Kulturbahnhof plays a central role: the building is not only intended to house the city’s diverse cultural institutions and catering facilities, but also to have a major radiant effect throughout the region.
View of the new Kulturbahnhof Aalen on the site known as the Stadtoval © Brigida González
After coming first in the restricted competition in 2015, a+r Architekten implemented the project between 2018 and 2020. The inauguration of the building in the northwest of Aalen’s Stadtoval, which now accommodates a cinema, a theatre, the music school and high-quality function rooms for cultural events along with premises for catering, was celebrated from October 2-4, 2020.
▼入口立面，entrance facade © Brigida González
Cautious approach to the urban heritage
自2014年的大火之后，场地中只遗留下一些破碎的建筑片段，包括前铁路行政大楼和维修车间的大厅。既有的工业建筑构成了阿伦市铁路历史中的重要“文献”——它们具有当地建筑的典型特征以及一些引人注目的特点，例如砂岩材质的立面以及短边的三角墙。a+r Architekten项目负责人和首席建筑师Hellmut Schiefer表示：“我们的中心思想是以谨慎的方式去保护这些遗迹，同时进一步将其发展为21世纪具有前瞻性的文化中心。”
▼自2014年的大火之后，场地中只遗留下一些破碎的建筑片段 © Brigida González
After a fire in 2014, only fragments of several historical groups of buildings existed on the site
For the architecture firm, which runs offices in Stuttgart and Tübingen, the building task posed “a challenge to create a harmonious whole from the existing building fragments and new elements.”
Following a fire in 2014, all the architects found were a number of historical groups of buildings, including the former railroad administration building and remains of the large hall of a former repair workshop. The existing industrial architecture constitutes an important structural document of railroad history in Aalen — these are the remains of typical local buildings with some striking characteristics, such as a sandstone façade and short side gables. “Our central idea was to carefully preserve this heritage and to further develop it into a forward-looking cultural centre for the twenty-first century,” explains Hellmut Schiefer, project manager and lead architect at a+r Architekten.
▼新建筑立面，the new facade © Brigida González
▼广场视角，view from the plaza © Brigida González
Historical construction and contemporary industrial architecture
The extensively destroyed façade was replaced in a stylised way with coloured fair-faced concrete. Where possible, the architects sought to revive the historical character. For example, the sandstone façade was completed and repaired by stonemasons in the corresponding places. Due to the smoother surfaces of the new sandstone, the new components were deliberately left visible as such. The roofs of the short side gables were also rebuilt according to the historical design. The longitudinal gable, by contrast, was treated quite differently: a+r Architekten replaced it by an elongated, cuboid-shaped volume clad in folded perforated plate, thus creating a spatial reference to the urban edges of the neighbourhood bordering to the south.
“In contrast to the historical sandstone façade with its ornamental craftsmanship and massive appearance, the superimposed cuboid is plain and restrained. The semi-transparent perforated sheet façade allows the cuboid’s volume to shine through, creating associations with a cloth-like curtain and contemporary industrial architecture,” the project manager describes the design concept.
▼外墙以一种风格化的方式被更替为彩色的清水混凝土立面 © Brigida González
The extensively destroyed façade was replaced in a stylised way with coloured fair-faced concrete
▼半透明的穿孔板立面让建筑的长方形体块得以从中浮现 © Brigida González
The semi-transparent perforated sheet façade allows the cuboid’s volume to shine through
The “house-in-house” principle allows for great flexibility of the interiors
The historical façade provides the shell of a generous space. New boxes were placed inside this completely gutted space, zoning it for different uses. These boxes also support and stiffen the new load-bearing structure. The large halls and public uses are located in the old building. The music school and the theatre workshops are housed in the new, cuboid-shaped volume built on top. These rooms “serving” cultural production and education symbolically arch over the show stages for the culturally interested public.
▼建筑内部，数个新的盒子空间被放置在完全清空的空间内 © Brigida González
New boxes were placed inside this completely gutted space, zoning it for different uses
▼宽敞的门厅，View into the spacious foyer © Brigida González
▼面积较大的门厅和公共空间位于旧建筑内，The large event halls and public uses are located in the old building © Brigida González
▼走廊和楼梯，Corridor and staircase © Brigida González
▼楼梯间，Stair well © Brigida González
▼走廊座位区，Seating area in the corridor © Brigida González
▼剧场内部，View into the theatre © Brigida González
▼电影院内部，The cinema © Brigida González
通过使用旧建筑的构成元素，如材料、窗户和裸露的屋顶结构，不同的文化场地得以展现出其本真的状态，同时又能够相互独立地运作。 Hellmut Schiefer解释说：“整体的材料和设计理念都是以关联与融合19和21世纪的工业建筑为基础。”
An important aspect for the architects was to use historical components such as materials, windows and a visible roof construction to create an authentic and independent ambience for the different cultural venues. “The entire material and design concept is based on the idea of interrelating the industrial architectures of the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries in a variety of ways,” explains Hellmut Schiefer.
▼裸露的屋顶结构，The visible roof construction © Brigida González
▼窗户和墙面细节，Windows and wall details © Brigida González
▼外立面细节，facade details © Brigida González
Resource optimisation and synergy effects
In addition, pragmatic aspects come into effect: in the opinion of the town of Aalen, a shared building for the diverse cultural venues, which were previously spread across several locations, should contribute to optimising resources, pooling synergies and ensuring cost savings in the long term.
▼建筑外观，Exterior view © Brigida González
▼场地平面图，Site plan © a+r Architekten
▼首层平面图，Ground floor plan © a+r Architekten
▼横剖面图，Cross section © a+r Architekten