Consortium of Hoskins Architects, Ralph Appelbaum Associates and Wenzel+Wenzel to design the new Museum für Franken at Marienberg Fortress, Würzburg
In April 2018, the consortium of Hoskins Architects (Design Architect), Ralph Appelbaum Associates (Exhibition Design) and Wenzel + Wenzel (Executive Architect) were awarded the Europe-wide tender for the renovation and conversion of the Fortress Marienberg into the Museum für Franken - Staatliches Museum für Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte in Würzburg (State Museum of Fine Arts and Cultural History). The project includes the internal restructuring and redesign of the entire core castle, an area of more than 17,000 m². The new permanent exhibition area of the Museum for Franken will comprise approximately 4,000 m². Additional space is planned for special exhibition areas, visitor infrastructure, a depot and administration.
Fortress Marienberg shapes the image of the city of Würzburg from afar. The origins of the fortress date back to the 8th century. From the 13th to the 18th century, the fortress was the seat of the prince-bishops of Würzburg. In the 17th century, the castle was expanded as a baroque fortress. Following heavy destruction during the Second World War, the post-war years saw the slow rebuilding and, in addition to museum use, the use of various sections by various institutions, including as State Archives and as a Conference Centre. As part of the conversion to the Museum für Franken, the entire fortress complex is gradually being renovated to meet the current requirements as a museum location and visitor attraction. Locating the Museum für Franken in the Kernburg, at the heart of the fortress, is the most important building block in these far-reaching plans.
The Museum für Franken was formerly known as the Mainfränkische Museum. In January 2017, it came under the responsibility of the State of Bavaria, who is financing the reconstruction work. Under the name Museum für Franken – Staatliches Museum für Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte in Würzburg, the museum will, when complete, present the history and culture of Franconia, a large region in south central Germany, including the history of the city of Würzburg and will extend the scope of its collection to the present day. The museum collections include, among others: the world's largest collection of sculptures by Tilman Riemenschneider (1460-1531); an important collection of paintings; an archaeological collection with evidence of prehistory and early history of Franconia; the highly significant Kilian banner of 1266; an extensive art collection with furniture, faience, gold and silver work from the Franconian area; and two impressive city models of medieval Würzburg and of the city destroyed by fire-bombing in 1945.
For Hoskins Architects and Ralph Appelbaum Associates, the project is the third collaboration on a major museum in a listed building following on from the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh (2005-2016) and the Weltmuseum Wien in the Neue Hofburg, Vienna (2013-2017).
With Wenzel + Wenzel, an experienced partner has been found for the implementation of the project, who have already proven their quality in many museum projects, most recently at the Historical Museum in Frankfurt and the James Simon Gallery on the Berlin Museum Island.