Sauerland Museum

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Sauerland Museum

Learning from (building) history

The Sauerland is a real holiday location insider tip. In winter, skiing and sledding slopes attract visitors, in summer there are many hiking trails and reservoir lakes to explore. If you want to learn more about the region, the Sauerland Museum is the place to go. It documents the history of the region from the Palaeolithic Age to the present day. The museum complex itself is also a mixture of old and new. During the extensive renovation of the historical section of the museum, earthen clay plaster was used to bridge the gap between the ages.

Historical: from lovers hideaway to museum

The museum’s permanent exhibition is located in the historical Landsberger Hof city palace. The prince-elector, Ernst of Bavaria, had it built in 1605 in the French style for his mistress Gertrud von Plettenberg. Over the centuries, the building was used for a variety of purposes before it housed the museum, starting in 1937.

In keeping with its objective of documenting the history of the Sauerland, the museum and its exhibition are also constantly developing. The museum went through a functional phase in which the historical charm of the palace building was lost, through the use of drop-down ceilings and the like. However, in 2018, the building and the permanent exhibition were modernised and updated for today’s modern tastes.

Current: traditional building material with contemporary properties

As is in keeping with the understanding of our times, as much reference as possible was made to the original design of the palace during the conversion and renovation. Almost all walls in the entire building were plastered with clay earth – a building material that has a long-standing tradition in the construction of timber frame buildings in the Sauerland region.

Today this natural building material is more relevant than ever. Clay earth regulates air humidity by intercalating water molecules between the clay particles. This process is also reversible – that is, when the humidity drops, the water molecules are released back into the room air.

In a history museum displaying a range of exhibits, the room climate must remain as constant as possible. The fluctuating number of visitors poses a challenge to maintaining this constancy. However, the earthen-clay plaster of the exhibit room walls works to balance these changes to the room climate.

Modern: An extension and architectural highlight

If you appreciate modern architecture, you will also get your money’s worth at the Sauerland Museum. In 2019, a modern new museum building was added to the historical building by the architectural offices of bez+kock.

The new building is divided into three structures that descend down the cliff edge to the Ruhr River. A bridge was also built, connecting the old and new buildings. Temporary exhibitions and modern museum educational programmes are located here.

Photos 2-7 ©Julia Gehrmann

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Clay Highlight:

Timeless: Clay plasters from Claytec

As an all-natural and humidity-regulating building material, clay earth is a vital part of a forward-looking architectural approach. It supplies low-tech solutions for building that are as climate-friendly as they are user-friendly.

During the museum renovation, the walls in Landsberger Hof were given a base coat of clay with straw as a textural add-in. The thick-layer plaster can be applied in a thickness of up to 35 mm. This makes it ideal for pairing with in-wall heating systems and for levelling uneven walls.

A clay-earth topcoat plaster, also with a textural straw add-in, was used as the surface in some areas. In others, clay plaster Mineral 20 was used. YOSIMA clay designer plaster in either white or Kolumba grey gives the walls a fine finish. The coloured plaster doesn’t contain any dyes or pigments but uses the natural colour range of clay earth available.


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