Baroque meets modernity: The MIK in Ludwigsburg reveres the colour white
If it were possible to place the recent building structures of the Stuttgart architectural office of Lederer + Ragnarsdóttir + Oei (LRO) adjacent to one another, then a common facet would be recognised despite their differences. The interiors radiate in pure white – this is not of minor relevance, but rather it is an important characteristic feature. It is because white settings are directed against the materiality of that which defines a space: walls, ceilings, floors. They merge into a sphere without genuine boundaries. Also, with the MIK in Ludwigsburg the intention of LRO is that the white dominates – both in the old section which has baroque materials typical of the former garrison city and in the new extension which snuggles up seamlessly to the existing building. But the old and new show their differences even at first glance, more than just the particular formal features of the wall surfaces. This is because, whereas the new section is presented as a reinforced concrete construction with smooth walls, the old part appears to the visitor as rougher and more narrative. The reason for this is that "in the course of the building work we discovered green shades on the walls as well as ochre colours originating from old wallpaper," says Klaus Hildenbrand, Project Manager at LRO. It would have been no problem coating over it, but the planners decided to let these relics live on. So the missing plaster was replaced with historically compatible lime-based plaster, sanded down lightly and then covered with slightly pigmented Histolith Antik Lasur (antique glaze). The result is a wall appearance which does not conceal the fact that a historical building is involved here, which has lived through centuries of different uses – and that the current use only represents a thin slice in the time continuum.
For three years the MIK was reconstructed, extended, decorated – now the Ludwigsburg City Museum, the local art club, the tourist information point and a restaurant are all accommodated on different levels and on a total of 2300 square metres. Standing at the side of the dominant white is the almost black asphalt floor; there could hardly be more of a contrast, especially as the wall meets the floor seamlessly. White installed fittings and furniture underline the clear, monochrome message of the interior. Walls – like the floors by the way – bear the silicate coating Histolith Raumquarz where they are fully coated. This is a tribute to the history of the place, including the new building whose concrete shell was only prepared for coating with a lime-based filler and brief sanding.
Normally, white is generally accepted as not being particularly robust against soiling and is regarded as being less than suitable for a public building. But, actually both of these features are quite compatible – thanks to modern coating technology. For example, the wall surfaces in the plinth area have a very special coating, Caparol PremiumClean. "This material is based on a special binder/filler combination which forms a matt, low-porous and therefore easily cleaned surface. Since it is also very hard and mechanically resilient, the surface does not polish up," says Caparol's consultant on the project, Carsten Tümpner. And that is not only aesthetically attractive – the building operator achieves cost savings due to longer renovation intervals. Definitely a win-win situation.
Property: Museum-Information-Kunst (Museum of Information & Art), Ludwigsburg
Building owner: City of Ludwigsburg
Architecture: Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei, Stuttgart
Award: Exemplary Construction, District of Ludwigsburg 2006-2013
Application work: Maler Wörtz GmbH, Freiberg
Caparol products: Histolith Raumquarz, Histolith Antik Lasur, Premium Clean