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Kulturbahnhof Aalen merges industrial history with 21st century architecture

Kulturbahnhof Aalen merges industrial history with 21st century architecture

3 May 2021 News

The Kulturbahnhof Aalen brings together the city’s industrial history with 21st architecture by sensitively integrating historical building fragments with modern elements. The resulting civic hub now accommodates a cinema, theatre, and music school along with high-quality event halls.

Brigida González

The Kulturbahnhof is located in an area once known as the Aalen ‘Stadoval,’ which alongside other uses was a railway track area.  After a fire caused significant damage in 2014, only fragments of some historical groups of buildings and their beautiful sandstone facades remained. For a+r Architekten, the guiding principle of the project was to carefully preserve the remaining heritage while developing a cultural centre for the 21st century. 

Brigida González

The main façade, which had been largely destroyed, was replaced with fair-faced concrete. The remaining sandstone portions were retained and revived where possible. The short transverse gables were accurately reconstructed while the longitudinal gable was replaced with a long cuboid addition clad with perforated sheet metal. The simple and clean appearance contrasts in a restrained way with the historic sandstone façade beneath.

Brigida González

The historical facade forms a shell with a generous amount of space. In this completely gutted room, new boxes are placed in a manner that zones the room for different uses. These boxes also support and stiffen the new structure. Meanwhile, the large halls and public uses are accommodated in the old building.

Brigida González

The new cuboid volume houses the music school and theatre workshops. These new uses symbolically arch over a central show stage for the general public.

The architects explain, ‘It was important to us to create an authentic and independent ambience for the different cultural venues with historical components such as materials, windows and a visible roof construction.’

Brigida González

For the town of Aalen, the now shared building for diverse cultural venues, previously spread over several locations, is expected to assist in optimizing resources, pooling synergies and ensuring cost savings long term.  

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