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The conversion and new building of the MGKSiegen was the ninth museum project to be realised by architect Josef Paul Kleihues (1933–2004). His work in Siegen reveals Kleihues’ particular interest in the productive tension between old and new buildings, between tradition and modernity. He had the old building of the museum, built in 1894 as a telegraph office, extended with a structure facing onto Schlossplatz as well as a separate concrete wall superimposing the new building’s façade.

Museum of Contemporary Art Siegen, 2001, Photo: Roman Mensing

The decisive concept for the conversion lays in this division of the resulting ensemble into two parts of different design, contrasting clearly on the outside while the transition is hardly noticeable inside. The new building, cubic in its basic structure, houses the entrance area, restaurant and a separate foyer, while the second floor comprises further exhibition rooms. Outside, the new building is characterised by a large video wall functioning as an eye-catcher above the entrance.

From 2020, this LED wall will be integrated into the “MGKWalls” exhibition series, which will focus an annual presentation on two prominent museum walls: the entrance wall in the foyer of the museum and, opposite, the existing mural “Quiver” (2017) by Rubens Prize winner Bridget Riley, as well as the large LED wall on the outer façade, which opens up the museum’s architecture to the city programmatically and has been a distinctive feature of the architecture since the museum’s opening.