Kolumba Museum

Peter Zumthor

This museum in the city of Cologne, which was almost completely destroyed during World War II, integrates the fragments of the Gothic Church of St. Columba into the facade of the new museum. According to arcspace.com, "Throughout the history of Cologne, since the earliest Roman settlements, churches have stood on the site where the Kolumba Museum stands today. In medieval times, when the Saint Kolumba parish was Cologne's largest and most dominant the splendid Kolumba Church was built to properly demonstrate the power of the parish. It stood until 1943, where the site was tragically demolished - along with the rest of the city - by the allied air strike. Since then, the ruins were largely left untouched, with the exception of a small octogonal chapel built in 1949 by local architect Gottfried Böhm in rememberance of the devastating bombing." Since the museum contains the Archdiocese’s art collection which spans more than a thousand years, this design and the plan, emerging from the ruins of the church, respects the history of the site and the purpose of the museum.

The structure is clad in a pale gray brick, although the masonry has perforations, which introduces striking lighting effects in to the interior. See the detail on the right.


Fragments from the earlier Gothic Church of St. Columba


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© 2016 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site) and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.