Stone Sculpture Museum

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Stone Sculpture Museum

Back to its roots

“You borrow the place where you build from nature.” It’s this conviction that guides the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando. You can see it in his buildings. Born in 1941, the autodidact designs them in symbiosis with the surrounding landscape, for whose individual magic he demonstrates a fine sense. None of his building components stands alone, but communicates with the others, through material, construction, and placement. Together they all send out messages.

Stone – fascinating matter

The message of the Stone Sculpture Museum in Bad Kreuznach which bears the signature of the international award-winning architect? An invitation to indulge in the fascination of stone. In the midst of a terrain that is, as it were, shaped by this elementary material: In a northerly direction, the Rotenfelsen (Red Rock) towers majestically above the roughly 15,000-square-meter site with its dozens of stone sculptures. From 1968 to 2001, the open-air studio of the sculptor couple Anna Kubach-Wilmsen (1937-2021) and Wolfgang Kubach (1936-2007) was located there. In 1998, the couple donated the area to create what is now the Sculpture Park. Centrepiece of the project is the museum building, designed by Tadao Ando as a replica of a half-timbered barn, typical of the Hunsrück region, from the 18th century. In 2010 the world’s only contemporary stone sculpture museum opened to visitors.

An inner relation to the earth

Admittedly, it is not quite a barn in the classic sense, with its two extraordinary museum courtyards, one with a water surface, one with gravel, its mezzanine, the many windows, the glazed gables, and free-standing exposed concrete walls, whose visual axes play with the visitor’s gaze and open it up to the natural surroundings. The architect is known for combining traditional with modern elements: The museum’s concrete base appears cool, with its clear geometry and, according to Tadao Ando, at the same time it is delicate, “smooth like velvet” and “soft like water”. The upper part of the structure, with its wooden beams painted in a strong brown, the timber frames, and the slate roof, all of it characteristic of half-timber building, forms a pristine contrast. Clay earth, in the interior walls and the timber frame, enhances the rustic feel and naturalness. Which building material, after all, is more closely related to the earth which produced the minerals and rocks exhibited in and around the museum? A visit to the museum is a stroll among these stony witnesses of time while drinking in the atmospheric scenery of a spa town, and being charmed by the surrounding vineyards, cliffs and forest. The exhibits, all of them impressive sculptures by the artist couple Kubach-Wilmsen, come from all continents of the world: marble, river rock, granite, given shape as a book tower, a bridge, a blackboard. Exhibited in order to tell their own story and to make the fascinating relationship between earth and stone tangible.

Visitor Tip: On July 4th, the anniversary exhibition TADAO ANDO / MUSEEN / RICHARD PARE opened.

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Clay Highlight:

Authentic appearance and optimum climate with CLAYTEC clay block

Especially in a building as uniquely in harmony with nature as the Stone Sculpture Museum, clay earth, the most natural of all building materials, keeps architectural tradition alive and creates a new context. In timber frame restoration work, clay earth plays a supporting role: The building material harmonizes excellently with wood and shields it from environmental influences like no other. The experts from the Otterberg craftsman company Lehmbau Pritzl filled the framework of the sides of the former barn with CLAYTEC Light Clay Blocks NF1200 and Lightweight Clay Masonry Mortar. For natural thermal insulation in the building interior, they applied CLAYTEC Reed Boards to the clay blocks and plastered over them with CLAYTEC Clay Undercoat Plaster with Straw as well as CLAYTEC Clay Topcoat fine 06 to ensure ideal moisture exchange and create a sustainable healthy indoor air quality.


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