MARTa Herford Museum
A brick-clad work of art designed to house works of art
The museum, which houses mostly contemporary art, opened in 2005 after four years of construction. Its name reflects both the purpose of the facility – M for Möbel/furniture, art (ART), and architecture/ambience (a) – and the town in which it is located. Herford is known for its thriving furniture industry, which represents 20 percent of the furniture made in Germany. Each year, the town hosts two major industry trade shows that act as both international forums and barometers for the industry. In Gehry’s mind, according to articles published about the building, the main idea behind the museum’s design is to highlight and redefine the contradictory links between art and business.
The former manufacturing building is shielded by a semi-transparent metal screen and connects the different parts of the complex. According to Bollinger + Grohmann, the structural engineering firm of record for the project, based on precise 3-D data, all components for the sculptural steel structure of the roof were CNC-fabricated (computer numerical controlled). CNC-milled stainless steel panels were mounted like overlapping shingles on the secondary structure of the double-curved lattice shell, the firm says. The manufacturing of the complex formwork for the curved reinforced concrete walls also was based on CAD data and subsequently insulated and clad with cement on the exterior before applying the brick.