Back to profile
wörner traxler richter

Historischer Salmen Offenburg

Project data
Client: Stadt Offenburg
Competition: 1st place 1998
Services: Service rendering phases 1-9
Gross construction cost: 5.3 m €
Completion: 2002
Usable Floor Area: 1,825 m²
GFA: 2,850 m²

From the “cradle of democracy“, the “place of revolution” up to the “Holocaust stage”. A living building document of the changeful German history will be converted to a cultural centre – to a living space, a place of coexistence between remembrance, conservation and today’s life.

Architectural concept
Today, the developed cultural centre is divided into four sections. Likewise, the historical residential building with its narrow side facing the street has been converted into a bistro. Vis-à-vis this residential building, a ramp structure made of glass provides access to the historical Salmensaal. The actual, historical relevant core building is located in the centre of the ensemble; it is complemented by a modern stage area.

Modern contents - theatre plays, concerts and conferences – cover a broad range of time, from the past to nowadays. The modern architectural language gives new context to the historical buildings and supports further existence with new functions.
In this way, the new glass foyer contrasts with the massive historical hall building. However, its position within the ensemble remains undisputed and dominant.
It was possible to preserve the spatial and atmospheric impression of the historical building and its materiality while carefully refurbishing its substance. Necessary modifications are clearly recognizable as modern interventions.
All new buildings are built below the eaves’ level of the historical building parts. Just as the new stage building, which was required for the new usage, their presentation is discreet, the architectural language adapted to their respective functions.
Accessing the historical hall is a suspenseful experience. While the visitor is walking on a long ramp, he is taken, slowly and step by step, on a path of looking back, of remembrance, but also of expectation. For that reason, the historical staircase, which the Jewish Community had to buy from the town of Offenburg at that time, may be losing its actual function – but remains preserved as a gesture.