Resolutely modern, the Tchoban Foundation’s Museum for Architectural Drawing springs forth from the end of a row of 100-year-old apartment buildings at the entrance to the Industrial monument known as the Pfefferberg. The stack of immense concrete ‘builder’s blocks’ that make up the building are etched with historical architectural drawings. Not only is the small museum one of Berlin’s most pleasing juxtapositions of contemporary and historical architecture, it’s also remarkably energy efficient. Inhabitat visited the museum to get a feel for the spaces and find out more about how the builders added drawings to the concrete facade. Read on to take a tour of this imaginative space.
Architects Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov created a form that complements the neighbouring historical buildings with a fresh and different minimalist stance. Open at three sides, the situation invited the designers to do something different with the facade. They responded by etching fragments of architectonic sketches into the exterior surfaces to pick up the directional light of morning and evening. Glazing is kept to a minimum with the exception of a loggia offering visitors a peaceful view across the local park and a glass penthouse that tops the sculptural looking structure.
Each story of the museum has been imprinted with its own repeating graphical elements. These patterns hint at the wealth of information and delicate drawings stored within. You can recognize elements of drawings from early 19th century architects Pietro di Gottardo Gonzaga and Angelo Toselli in the concrete facade.
Architectural drawings were digitised and edited, then carved onto fibreboard with a CNC router. The positive forms were then cast in acrylic to produce a ‘negative’ which could be printed onto the concrete. The shuttering had to be carefully applied, and when removed, evidence of ties for the shuttering had to be removed by skilled craftsmen. Finally a nanotechnology coating was applied to protect against dirt and graffiti. The waterproof concrete walls were cast in situ and are 50 cm thick, including a layer of foam glass insulation.
Design motifs from the facade reappear throughout the interior. Irregular openings bring natural light, filtered through thick cathedral glass into the deep toned nutwood clad entrance area. Each wooden panel is hand carved, introducing the handmade element of the archive’s contents. The warm and welcoming space feels like a library or educational space.
The staircase and lift shaft bridge the gallery floors and exterior fire wall of the neighbouring building. Smooth and textured concrete finishes are offset with glossy black panels and LED strip lighting in the stairwell.
Exhibition spaces are subtly lit to protect the artworks on display, resulting in an intimate atmosphere in the human-scaled gallery rooms. Passing through the gallery space, it’s possible to turn a heavy bespoke door handle and enter a small meditative wooden and concrete loggia which seems to invite the presence of nature from the park opposite. Even the block seating displays hand drawn motifs.
Up at the top of the building, a glass penthouse houses office and meeting spaces for the Tchoban foundation with spectacular views of the park on one side and former Pfefferberg brewery’s chimney stack on the other. These days the complex houses modern offices and exhibition space including that of the Aedes Architecture Forum.
Those thick composite concrete walls help the building achieve some industry standard busting energy performance figures, whilst meeting the ASHRAE conservation guidelines, keeping the interior at controlled temperature and humidity levels suitable for preservation of delicate artefacts such as the 3D ‘drawings’ of Alexander Brodsky.
A ceiling heating and cooling system helps to keep the internal environment constant without the need for air conditioning. With careful monitoring and fine tuning, minimum energy expenditure can be achieved, total energy use is estimated at a very modest 240 KWh per year for the entire museum.
Sergei Tchoban as part of nps tchoban voss has led some pretty impressive low energy building projects over the last few years including a public pool that performs just as well as a Passivhaus and now a new green roofed recreation centre for Berlin’s outskirts. We’re looking forward to seeing future collaborations and iterations of his work.