Revitalization of the ruined St. Kolumba church into a modern museum in Cologne

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Kolumba museum is the most striking symbol of the complete destruction of Cologne during World War II. The museum building looks like a phoenix that rises from the ashes. Its facade and interior fully reflect the transformation process from the base of the ruins of an old church in Gothic style and gradually rises into a modern minimalist building. The former central church in the city is now a modern museum and home to the art collection of the Roman Catholic Archdioeze, which covers a period of more than a thousand years.

Designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumtor, Kolumbo museum is gently rising from the ruins of the church St. Kolumba.  The new building is part of an architectural continuity, a living museum that wants to bring back visitors to another time and make them think about the story of Cologne.

Due to this idea for the new look of the building, Zumtor was particularly careful when choosing materials. In order to make the new facade a natural extension of the ruined old basis, he used gray handmade Danish bricks in order to get the desired warm shade of gray from the old Gothic church. The specific placement of the bricks in the new wall without many windows allows penetration of external light in certain spaces in the museum, creating a wonderful play of light and shadows at different times of the day. The museum has 16 exhibition rooms and garden where you can feel the peaceful and harmonious heart of the building.

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(Photo Credits: Jose Fernando Vazquez)

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