Castle conversion, Neustadt
New stones for an old castle
NEUSTADT (DE) - In 2002, when the Hambach Castle Foundation began overseeing this hilltop fortress that has stood in one form or another since Roman times, extensive modernization and remodelling of the existing structure was undertaken. Through a combination of materials and visual deference, the recently completed, competition-winning proposal by Max Dudler integrates seamlessly with the fortification's original substance and character. The renovation work, which involved remodelling of the castle's great halls and conference centre, took place between 2005-2008, while the addition of new structures began in 2009. Taken altogether, the plan shapes a well-balanced and respectful gesture appropriate to this historical place.
Selecting the castle's medieval defensive wall as his visual starting point, the architect based his augmentative strategy upon 'creating a building from the wall'. This has resulted in an extension executed in a contemporary style using new materials – cherry wood, stone, steel and glass – that readily merge with the old. The local yellow sandstone that forms the original walls was therefore also applied to the modern construction work in a continuation of the castle's historical context. Updated technical features are placed out of sight within the walls themselves, allowing for a natural and unassuming discourse between old and new architectures via materials and form.
Dudler's primary desire was to 'respect the language of the place by coming up with a suitable architectural response to the structure’s existing vocabulary.' Thus the accessible castle wall was transformed into a functional space, and a new restaurant now grows out of discreet, clean-lined structures that avoid distracting from the main building. With its stone terrace and panoramic views, the restaurant highlights the attraction of the place in a simple yet comprehensive manner. For added emphasis, its variously sized windows are glazed flush with the interior wall. Deeply recessed, they open the substantial walls and strengthen the castle's relationship with the surrounding landscape, framing it in a bold manner.
Wednesday | 12 October | 2011 | Germany | Dutton R. Hauhart