MMK 2 in the TaunusTurm / Kuehn Malvezzi

Mmk 2 in the taunusturm /  kuehn malvezzi
© Ulrich Schwarz

How turn a highrise office building into a museum exhibition space for the presentation of contemporary art? This was the question Kuehn Malvezzi found themselves confronted with as their starting point for the interior design of a floor of the TaunusTurm in Frankfurt’s financial district built by the real-estate developer Tishman Speyer and the Commerz Real AG. The space has been made available to the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt as an annex for a term of fifteen years and opened October 17th 2014.

Mmk 2 in the taunusturm /  kuehn malvezzi
© Ulrich Schwarz

The Situation at the Outset
In accordance with the original use of the space as an office area, the plans had provided for suspended ceiling constructions and elevated floors. The almost entirely connected floor space was divided along the lines of a clearly defined office grid; seventy-five percent of its exterior surfaces were glazed. Superficially seen, these conditions were inconsistent with an adequate presentation of art.

Mmk 2 in the taunusturm /  kuehn malvezzi
© Ulrich Schwarz

The Basic Conversion

The architectural intervention conceived by Kuehn Malvezzi was not aimed at negating or concealing the spatial parameters but rather at constructively working with the given situation – which meant revealing the existing structure of the building and creating the basis for the envisaged exhibition context. The necessary basic structures were reduced to a minimum, the elevated floors and the suspended ceilings were removed in favor of maximum ceiling height. Exposing the spatial parameters such as windows, supports, girders, and utility service shafts made the space structurally transparent. Necessary technical elements like lighting and ventilation systems were not retouched but laid as visible parts of the space’s structure.

Mmk 2 in the taunusturm /  kuehn malvezzi
© Ulrich Schwarz

The installation of a light ceiling as a comprehensive structure of bars ensures an adequate general illumination (fluorescent tubes) as well as the right accentuation for the exhibits (spotlights) so that different exhibition requirements can be flexibly fulfilled. Slot bar diffusers subtly integrated above the exhibition walls provide the necessary air conditioning. Thanks to their matching colors, the technical elements appear as parts of the basic structure so that visitors perceive them as subdued background installations. The technology could thus be incorporated as a natural part of the exhibition space.

The exhibition area to be found on the second floor of the forty-story building is made accessible by means of an elevator installed as part of the conversion. An own entrance lobby comprising a café and a shop establishes a direct link between the museum and the public realm.

Mmk 2 in the taunusturm /  kuehn malvezzi
© Ulrich Schwarz

The Design of the Exhibition Space

Developed on the basis of the main conversion measures, the tour through the presentation unfolds as across a landscape in analogy to that of the MMK 1 designed by Hans Hollein, though contrary to the main building horizontally and not vertically. The emphasis of the solution conceived by Kuehn Malvezzi is on interlinking different spatial situations permitting individual exhibition experiences. Instead of a strictly chronological narration implying a defined sequence, an intuitive approach has been chosen which allows visitors to stroll. The experience of the space is characterized by over- lapping sight and path lines, offering moments of discovery and recognition during the visit of the exhibition. As the windows have been retained, visitors have a view of the city and will find it easy to locate and orientate themselves.

Mmk 2 in the taunusturm /  kuehn malvezzi
© Ulrich Schwarz

A series of heterogeneous spatial situations offers potential for the exhibits’ individual presentation: whereas media artworks are presented in introverted cabinets, adaptable spaces with different situations in terms of layout, light, and material respond dynamically to changing presentations of exhibits from the museum’s holdings. It is in this way in which the architecture succeeds in fulfilling the requirement to generate ever new situations and novel spatial connections by relying on just minimal interventions such as alterations of the adjustable wall displays.

Project Details:

Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Type: InteriorsCultural
Architects: Kuehn Malvezzi
Photos: Ulrich Schwarz

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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