Being in a foreign place I prefer to walk randomly from the city centre towards the residential neighbourhoods at the edge of town, take a tram and discover an abandoned factories, food markets or department stores. I enjoy everyday street life more than the cultural highlights and above all I hate crowded places and queuing up for an entrance or an ice-cream. There are some exceptions to this rule and Kolumba is one of these. I went there after the Orgatec in 2014 and I knew sooner or later I would have posted these pictures. Certainly not because they are nice, sure you can find much better quality photographs on the web. It’s for the pleasure of going through my own architectural and emotional path again and again. I hope it’s enjoyable for you as well.
First time I visited this musem was long before it was built: 2002 at Dejan Sudjic Next Architecture Biennale in Venice I saw Peter Zumthor drawings, entered the large scale mock up and read the story of those bricks made out of ashes and clay, prepared to build a museum on top of the ruins of a bombed church, “Madonna in den Trummern”.
The original middle age Maria church St. Kolumba was damaged through the centuries and destroyed in WWII. Renown Cologne architect Gottfried Böhm (Pritzker Price in 1986) built in the 50es his masterpiece St.Kolumba ‘s church on those ruins, which Peter Zumthor’s design managed to value even more.
The outside of the Octagonal apse is beautifully integrated and displayed in the archeological walk through the tall concrete pillars.
A couple of architectural statements bring the visitor in another world, away from the middle age Madonna, the ruins and light coming from the outside. It’s time to concentrate and start this ascending path. Curators seem not to have any issue with the spirituality of the place, the historical weight and radical architecture. They mix contemporary installations, old masters and sacred ornaments in a stimulating and refreshing way, exactly the opposite of what every average museum has to offer.
At the top of the exhibition path the most precious exhibits in dialogue with the Cathedral