K21 Art Gallery (Former Parliament Building)

The Dusseldorf state house - for many years, first the seat of the Prussian provincial government and later the seat of the state parliament - is now known as K21 and acts as a forum for contemporary art, housing part of the North Rhine-Westphalia art collection. The architect who planned and implemented this transformation was Uwe Kiessler from Munich: he freed the original structure from the distorting conversions and annexes, and crowned it with a brave dome construction of glass and steel.

The renovation work gave rise to the following spatial layout: the reclaimed courtyard serves as a foyer and a representational room for hosting state government events, while galleries around the border give access to the collection's exhibition rooms on the various floors. Both the roof gallery under the dome and a large hall at basement level provide optimum presentation conditions - even for artworks of unusual dimensions.

Whereas the exhibition rooms act as a deliberately neutral background for the artworks, the historical staircase is resplendent in antique glory. In this former parliament building, Kiessler has again proven his capabilities in fusing together fragments of historical architecture with modern concepts and forms.

The galleries around the inner courtyard receive filtered, daylight from the sides through the original windows. At a fixed spacing, ERCO 3-circuit tracks cut through the ceilings and are equipped with various models of Eclipse spotlights for low-voltage halogen lamps. To enable the lighting to be adaptable to various exhibition situations, the art gallery holds a stock of spotlights with different characteristics and accessories such as filters and lenses.

The consistently applied - and actually quite simple - lighting concept of track-mounted spotlights is so flexible that virtually all the art gallery's lighting tasks can be mastered. Achieving optimum results, however, requires that the lighting system is carefully set up and maintained. In the large underground hall, the brilliant light of the narrowly spaced, downward-pointing spotlights lends a breathtaking effect to Katharina Fritsch's work: 'Herz aus Ähren' (Heart of Corn). Eclipse wallwashers let the walls appear with even brightness and add distance to the room.

Especially for large three-dimensional pieces, the roof gallery provides an exhibition area with a special atmosphere that comes close to being presented under an open sky. In addition to the sun vanes, the domed construction is also fitted with tracks carrying Stella and Eclipse spotlights for targeted illumination of artworks.

The illuminated dome turns the art gallery into a nocturnal highlight on the Dusseldorf skyline. Similar to the glass pyramid of the Louvre, the task presented here concerns using light to make a filigree, transparent structure really effective. To this end, Gimbal directional luminaires have been mounted in the installation channel at the base of the dome, and their beams aimed to add grazing light to the steel skeleton.

K21 Kunstsammlung im Ständehaus
Ständehausstraße 1, 40217 Düsseldorf

Further information for visitors:

Kiessler + Partner, Munich
Design of supporting structure:
Sailer Stepan und Partner, Munich
Thermal building physics
and dome glazing:
Richard Grün Institut, Ratingen

Contents of rooms and areas:
Usable area: 8,560 m², of which:
- exhibition: 5,300 m²
- offices: 190 m²
- reception hall: 700 m²
- cafeteria: 140 m²
Gross ground plan: 13,670 m²
Gross room contents: 81,640 m3

- dimensions: 44.50 x 53.40 x 10.66 m
- glazed area: 3,000 m²
- Kv value Federal Official Gazette: 0.89 W/m² K
- g value 29.0 %
- Light transmission: 52.0 %
- UV transmission: > 400 nm
- Sound-proofing class: 3

Construction costs: 49 million Euro

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