The €35 million ‘Garden Halls’ not only provides a distinctive and contemporary underground exhibition space but has also created an external landscaping feature which is both unique and in keeping with the Städel’s status as the home of one of the most significant art collections in Europe.
The creation of an extension to the museum below ground provides a self-contained, contemporary exhibition space that extends the available space without creating any architectural conflict with the existing traditional façade. However, the real genius of this building is not in the physical space of the new underground building but in the roof of that building, which provides natural light and also forms the substrate for a new garden area that is a striking green space in the daytime and provides eye-catching feature lighting at night.
At the heart of that achievement is the perfect geometry of 195 round skylights or ‘Eyes on Art’ as the Museum calls them, positioned in a grid formation on the undulating domed lawn that forms the roof of the Garden Halls extension. These ‘Eyes’ bring sunlight into the new building during the day and enable artificial light to illuminate the lawn from within the extension at night.