Folkwang Museum is a breathtakingly accomplished design. Located in Essen, in the far from rural Ruhr, it extends a beautiful late-1950s Miesian museum, developing the principles established by the existing structure, much as a jazz musician might riff on the tune of a classic song. The result is a genuinely uplifting, light-filled public space, offering a serene and yet mesmeric mixture of inward-looking courtyards and external views out.
Its external cladding is of large panels of crushed recycled glass, giving a shimmering translucent finish, reminiscent of alabaster. Inside, carefully detailed top-lighting systems in the galleries blend natural and artificial light. In the large, flexible temporary exhibition space, they have co-ordinated the lighting grid with a bespoke partitioning system than can easily be assembled and remounted to meet the requirements for each show.