David Chipperfield Architects completes a semi-subterranean congress and concert hall in Kunzelsau

David Chipperfield Architects completes a semi-subterranean congress and concert hall in Kunzelsau

Based near the town of Künzelsau in southern Germany, Adolf Würth is one of the world’s largest wholesalers of screws and other assembly and fastening materials. Close to the company’s main office, on a site surrounded by open fields, the Berlin office of David Chipperfield Architects has completed the first phase of the Carmen Würth Forum, comprising a large events hall and a smaller hall for chamber music recitals.

The building is partly submerged in the landscape, with with the chamber music hall and the lower level of the event hall hidden beneath a natural mound. Incisions in the hillside establish two framed external spaces. These are flanked by retaining walls, made of in-situ concrete, with expressed layers that refer to the sedimentary strata of the site’s geology.

The larger southern forecourt leads to the main entrance and serves as a forum for open-air concerts and other outdoor events.

A naturally-lit foyer leads onto the larger multi-purpose event hall, a column-free space with a trussed-steel roof that can accommodate 3,500 people. Its lower half is sunk into the ground, but the upper gallery level rises above the highest point of the site and is glazed on all sides.

The foyer also provides access to the more chamber music hall, which from the outside is only perceptible as a “modulation of the landscape”, says the architect. It seats up to 600 people and internally is completely lined in walnut.

Red is the company’s corporate colour, and a feature of all interior spaces, from the seating within the chamber music hall to the floors of the foyer and the event hall.

The green landscape around the building is enriched by sculptures from the collection of Reinhold Würth, and a museum for the Würth art collection is planned in a second phase of construction, along with conference centre. As a venue for conventions, trade shows, symposia and other events, the Forum will be used by the company and will also be open to the public.