Museum Joseph Beuys - Center of Contemporary Arts Düsseldorf

Task & Idea

Joseph Beuys, one of the most important modern german artists, brought ahead the understanding of art, like some very few artists in the postwar period. His substantial Œuvre, containing paintings, performances and sculptures was based on humanistic and anthroposophic ideas. His most important aim was to bring art into the lives of people and to overcome the distance between a small avantgarde of artists and society. To dignify his work, the tutorship "Raumgestaltung" (spatial design) set the task to design a museum and research center "Joseph Beuys" in the city of Düsseldorf, the place where he used to live, work and teach his ideas of art.
To seize his idea of an art-saturated society, I wanted to propose a public museum located in the everyday life of the people, which forms not only a place to show Beuys' work, but also a place for people to walk by, meet and talk (about art), which can be used for public events as well. Its given selected position in the city of Düsseldorf, a prominent head land near to Düsseldorf's new established business district "Medienhafen", which can be seen from big parts of the inner city, was the reason for me to compose a representable public building refering to its structural environment. The inside of the museum, on the other hand, was supposed to show the entity of Beuys producing, without deviding paintings from sculptures or performances from sketches.
To abstract the aim of the museum, one can say that on the outside it is supposed to connect the society to the place and resultant to Joseph Beuys. On the inside it is supposed to connect the different genres of art with each other. To cut a long story short: create an art-centre to come across Joseph Beuys.

Joseph Beuys
Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York


The site choosen for this project is located right on a prominent headland in the midst of Rhein river in the heart of Düsseldorf. It is situated in direct neighborhood to the commercial disctrict "Medienhafen", the Düsseldorf TV tower, and can be seen from most parts of the inner city and accessed directly via a pedestrian bridge. Its location calls for a prestigious building to host and represent the modern art scene of Düsseldorf and the city itself as a cultural institution within Europe.

bing map (oblique view) | google map


The design basically consists of two parts of structure, both connected to the existing pedestrian bridge. This connection is shaped as a platform. Both roof areas are public and accessible to passengers. The smaller part of the structure, which contains the library and cubicles, forms the connection between the pedsetrian bridge and the headland. The bigger structure, on the other hand, forms an accessible observation deck and provides two entrances to the museum. By thwarting the passengers and making them walk over the building, the museum becomes a part of the everyday life of the people, welcomes them and familiarizes people with the art of Joseph Beuys. The big glass front orientated to Düsseldorf's business district "Medienhafen" and the publicly available terrace sidewalks confirm this gesture.
Furthermore the design brings together different principles of design. It provides, for example, to stages, which are supposed to be used for pieces of performing art. The inner stage in the eastern part of the building can be seen from the audience hall, the café above and the entrance area of the roofs entrance. The outer stage, southern of the bigger part of structure, is public and can be seen from the bridge, the roof of both buildings and from the terrace sidewalks in front of the glass front. The layout of paths leads the passanger down the roof of the library, along the glass front or over the roof of the museum passing several entrances and offering people different chances to get in. The conception of the exhibiton structure refers to Joseph Beuys' idea to connect all the different kinds of art, such as painting, sculptures, performances, by connecting the different exhibition areas visually through cut-outs in the inserted ceilings. The museum unfurls itself towards Düsseldorf's "Medienhafen", so that the skyline of this new established business district can be seen from the insight of the exhibition and vice versa.

see the entire .pdf here

The usage of a rough metal grid for the ceiling in the top floor and for the facade of the main part of the building just like the rough exposed concrete refer to a industry shed, which comes as close as possible to Joseph Beuys' way to work on his pieces and makes a connection to the industry sheds close to the museum. The dark colour of the grid also refers to the three big bridges in Düsseldorf made from dark steel. The wooden shaped area in the center of the main part of structure is supposed to host the exhibition about person Joseph Beuys, his life, aims and dreams and therefor provides a softer and more private atmosphere. The walls and columns are supposed to be made out of armored concrete. They are connected through massive steel beams carrying the the inserted ceiling and the publicly accessible roof, as it can be seen in the detailed section. Applied Software: Rhinoceros 4D, Archicad 13, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign


(no photoshop - raw 3D Studio Max)

Panoramic Views

Please click on the Eye-cons in the floorplan below to access the 360° panoramic views of the Museum Joseph Beuys (Quicktime required). These images were rendered in 3D Studio Max 2011 Design Edition.

Promotion Movie

- please turn up the volume -

Animation - Joseph Beuys Museum - Düsseldorf from Benjamin Felbrich on Vimeo.

The 3D model for this promotion movie clip was elaboarted in ArchiCAD, Rhino 4.0 and Grasshopper. The animation's camera paths and material settings were applied in 3D Studio Max 2011 Design Edition and rendered with Mental Ray Render. A network render of up to 20 processing units was employed in the computer lab of TU Dresden to render the 2903 single frames of this animation. If you have problems watching the clip, you can access an alternative .avi version here.
You can find this clip along with more video material on my vimeo channel.