← History & Architecture

Fassade aktuell
Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Oberes Treppenhaus des LHM, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Ausstellungsfläche im Erweiterungsbau des LHM, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Schwarz-weiß-Foto des Museums mit großer Kuppel
Historische Aufnahme des LHM vor dem Krieg, o.J.
Museen nebeneinander
Leopold-Hoesch-Museum und Papiermuseum Düren in direkter Nachbarschaft, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Blick ins Treppenhaus Erdgeschoss des LHM, Foto: Peter Hinschläger

The opulent neo-Baroque ashlar building with rich sculpting and a remarkable staircase rotunda was designed by the Aachen architect Georg Frentzen, completed in 1905 and inaugurated on November 8, 1905. The building formed the ensemble of buildings around Hoeschplatz together with the Düren Municipal Theater (architect: Carl Moritz), which was donated by Leopold Hoesch's cousin Eberhard Hoesch (1827-1907) and built between 1905 and 1907, and the Düren St. Mary's Church. Since 1905, the entrance area has been adorned by the two monumental bronze sculptures Studium (male figure to the right of the main entrance) and Phantasie (female figure to the left of the main entrance) by Aachen professor and sculptor Karl Krauß.

During the air raid on Düren on November 16, 1944, the theater and St. Mary's Church were almost completely destroyed; the former was also not rebuilt. The Leopold-Hoesch-Museum was one of the few buildings in the center of Düren to survive the war, albeit badly damaged. Thus, the roofs, domes (only the glass, not the construction), parts of the east wing and parts of the upper middle hall (but not the staircase and not the west wing) were destroyed. The reconstruction, completed in 1952, was carried out in a simplified form, abandoning the domes. The listed building was renovated from 2007 to 2009 and, on the initiative of museum director Dorothea Eimert, received an extension by architect Peter Kulka, which was opened in June 2010. The extension increased the museum's exhibition space to nearly 3,000 square meters and was made possible by the financial support of the Günther Peill Foundation.

The museum was closed for renovations from 2007 to 2010, and the renovated and newly added spaces were inaugurated in June 2010. The new extension by architect Peter Kulka, called the "Günther Peill Forum," contrasts sharply with the neo-baroque old building due to its simplicity and clean lines. But both parts of the building are connected by a glass axis and bridges, thus reflecting the exhibition concept of the museum's new director Renate Goldmann, who was appointed in January 2010. The connection between old and new, between historical and modern architecture, and between works from the existing collection and contemporary art allow new perspectives to emerge.

At the end of June 2011, the 80-ton stone sculpture Ursprung by artist Ulrich Rückriem was erected in front of the museum. It is made of Anröchter dolomite.

Extension building

At the rear of the traditional building, a generous cube now adjoins, providing a functionalist counterpoint to its magnificent form. The historic sandstone façade is now followed by a surface structured by light-colored bricks, recalling the clinker look of the nearby city wall and the Anna Church by Rudolf Schwarz (1954 - 1956). Light joints mark the transition between the old and new buildings and expand into light courtyards.

Lichtfuge zwischen dem Alt- und dem Erweiterungsbau
Lichtfuge zwischen dem Alt- und dem Erweiterungsbau, Foto: Peter Hinschläger

The exhibition space has been increased to 1,700 square meters and provides the appropriate setting to show existing collections as well as contemporary positions. The architectural features grant art the space it needs to have a lasting impact.

The costs for the expansion and renovation of the traditional building were borne by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Günther Peill Foundation and the city of Düren. Thus, adequate conditions have been created to present both the existing collections and contemporary art positions. The generous architecture creates new spatial experiences and gives art the necessary space to leave its mark.