With our project, two building complexes facing each other across the Unterlinden square are now united by an underground gallery. To one side is the medieval convent consisting of a church, cloister, fountain and garden, and, on the other, the new ‘Ackerhof’ museum building mirrors the church’s volume which, together with the former municipal baths, constitutes a second, enclosed court.
Between the two complexes, the Unterlinden Square has recovered its historical significance, recalling the times when stables and farm buildings faced the convent – an ensemble known as ‘Ackerhof’. The Sinn canal, which flows under Colmar’s old town, is reopened and becomes the central element of this new public space. Close to the water, a small building marks the museum’s presence on the square: its positioning, mass and shape are those of a mill that once stood there. Two windows provide dramatic views down into the underground gallery.
The new Ackerhof and mill buildings use traditional materials. Irregular, hand-broken bricks enter into a dialogue with the convent facades of stone and plaster – redone many times over the centuries – and a few lancet windows are inserted. The steeply pitched roofs of both buildings are in crisply detailed copper giving a timeless quality.