Art museum, retail, and public open space. Stuttgart, Germany
Architectural design competition
Kleiner Schloßplatz is a prominent urban location along Stuttgart’s Königstraße, the main pedestrian shopping artery, face-to-face with the city’s main public square in front of the ‘Neues Schloß’. The site was developed in 1968 to cover a below grade traffic junction. Since the 1980s, the area was the subject of several urban planning competitions. The brief asks for a design solution to house the Kunstmuseum’s art collection, as well as retail space. The program includes the urban challenge of integrating a four-lane subterranean thoroughfare and a subway line below the site, connecting existing pedestrian links on two levels, and responding to the adjacent historic building stock.
The design proposal establishes a new urban edge along Königsstraße to define the spacial perimeter of the historic public square, and to counterbalance the Stadtbibliothek building, while maintaining an appropriate distance to the Königsbau. On ground level, a grand public stair with seating steps protrudes from the volume and becomes a public attractor. The site topography has a difference in elevation of about 10m. To provide a transition for pedestrian traffic and to facilitate previously underperforming retail business, the design proposes a lengthwise split and tilt of the existing topography along the historic urban axis that connects the Stadtbibliothek with an existing pedestrian gate along Theodor-Heuss-Straße. The split creates three distinct points of reference which are designed in such a way that public spaces and program spaces interface: one along the pedestrian street, becoming a public overlook of the Schloßplatz; one at the shifting point, where museum visitors can explore the buidling from a public catwalk elevated above the main axis; and one at the Western end where a public path crosses through the new building volume before exiting towards Theodor-Heuss-Straße. The interaction between museum visitors and the public make the museum and the site an integral part of the urban life.