Papiermuseum Düren

Paper has shaped the history of the Düren region for more than 400 years. More than 100 companies – including manufacturers, suppliers and users – work with this material with dedication and commitment. Paper is a significant factor in the economy and is integral to the identity of the region. At present, paper production is characterised by a marked specialisation in high-grade and special paper and laid paper. The constitution of the federal republic of Germany in the year 1949 and the charter of German unification are printed on paper from Düren.

The paper museum, founded in 1990, is proof of the importance paper has come to assume in the history of Düren, both in terms of its urban development, and also industry and culture.

The Cologne architect Klaus Hollenbeck and his team has received numerous awards and is responsible for the design of the new paper museum and permanent exhibition: the main focus of the architecture lies in the modern extension, an attractive exterior facade which connects the existing building to the new one and gives the impression that the museum is now an entirely new building, combined with a new spatial concept. The total area has been increased from 500 m2 to 900 m2 by adding a second storey to create a perfect round tour which intensifies the exhibition dramatics. The entire museum is now also barrier-free.

The architect picks up on the subject matter of the museum in the design: the white facade which converges in a point is reminiscent of folded paper and features a historic watermark motif. The name "Papiermuseum" (paper museum) is stamped in the external wall in Latin and in braille. The sloping walls and sharp angles of the museum interior are also reminiscent of folded paper. "The intention is for the new paper museum to have an air of lightness and the appearance of being detached from its surroundings", explains the architect Klaus Hollenbeck. The new paper museum is a "Museum for all" with the focus on inclusion.

Folded and stamped: the new paper museum in Düren

Architect took inspiration from the material

Smooth and white, the building stands out from its surroundings. The narrow front side soars upwards to a peak, which marks the location and symbolises the events. With his striking design for the extension and reorganisation of the ageing museum, the Cologne architect Klaus Hollenbeck uses the material which is presented in its many facets inside the museum as guide and inspiration. "The intention is for the new paper museum to have an air of lightness and the appearance of being detached from its surroundings", explains the architect, whose office specialises in exhibition design, new build and (listed) existing buildings, facilities and interiors.

The brief was to carry out comprehensive refurbishment of the existing fabric and also to extend the building. Klaus Hollenbeck created a modern extension and an attractive exterior facade which connects the existing building to the new one and gives the impression of an entirely new museum.

The new architecture was based on three archetypal forms of paper – folding, watermark and embossing. The facade therefore has a faceted appearance, watermarks are rendered as lighting through cutout windows and the museum name is stamped on the external wall. The large P on the facade represents one of the oldest known watermarks to be applied by papermakers long ago to their handiwork. The lettering for the name of the paper museum in Düren stands out in stark relief: it appears on the facade in white on white, smooth plaster on rough plaster and also in two versions: a line in braille next to the name in Latin has been added to demonstrate that the building also welcomes blind and visually-impaired visitors. This is in fact a matter of course in all building projects in the city. A continuous gap running round the building emphasises lightness, a characteristic of the material paper, which makes the museum stand out from its surroundings.

In the interior, Hollenbeck has created impressive new spaces. By adding a second storey, the floor area has been increased from 500 m2 to 900 m2. The entire museum now also has barrier-free access. It now receives visitors with expansive gestures and provides space for modern interactive exhibition dramatics. Sloping walls and sharp angles are also reminiscent of folded paper.

Source: Düren municipality

GU solution: sliding doors, escape route control unit, BKS panic locks, automatic GU-SECURY multi-point locks

Special challenge: solution for a door which also acts as an escape route and forms part of the sloping facade.