After making a name for themselves with a series of ambitious single-family homes within the New Construction Am Horn project in Weimar, Berlin architects AFF have now completed a building that presents a completely different architectural task: the renovation and restoration of Freudenstein Castle, Freiberg, into the Saxon Mountain Archives and home to a world-famous mineralogical collection.
The way AFF dealt with the existing building, which included everything from gutting it through to restoration, contributes to the contemporary architectural debate about how to deal with castles that is impossible to overlook. Reminiscent of an ark, the house-within-a-house implant represents the protective function of the archival collection of one of Germany’s oldest mining regions. The rooms of the mineralogical collection were structured by a system of built-in constructions and constellations of display cases. The idea of physicality, as a shared characteristic of sculpture and architecture, from which AFF draws its design work, is thus manifest on various levels.
Besides the use of striking colors to signal different functional areas, the architects address ornament as a theme. However, it is not about being something purely decorative, but is rather the playful communication of a cultural identity. AFF invited photoartist Hans-Christian Schink to document the project. They thus depart from the usual method of project documentation via classical architectural photography. They place more trust in the eye of the precise, independent observer, who depicts what is already present, without extra effort or production.
A selection of photographic works, in which the observer is able to introduce his own interpretation, can be seen in the exhibition. Complementary to these photos, a model of the ark as well as a publication with a comprehensive collection of material about the design and its foundations was produced for the exhibition.