The guiding ideas for this design were to treat the architectural heritage with consideration and respect and to preserve the character of the old barn in the center of Kressbronn while transforming it – with just a few, well-considered interventions – into a modern, accessible building. The conversion of the former agricultural barn should preserve the building’s character, retain the deeply overhanging, protective roof, and also maintain the traditional division with a solid ground floor and a threshing floor above.
Above the new base, delicate wooden openwork now replaces the old facade, reacting to the existing structure sensitively and altering it gently. Proceeding from the historical significance of the stable’s architecture and the emotional ties people have to it, the building was resituated in the present, using few architectural means and without suppressing its history.
To this end, the barn was revamped with simple, precisely conceived interventions. Its stone-like new base, homogeneously constructed of insulating concrete with deep, generously proportioned reveals, preserves the solid impression of the original.
The core emerges from the concrete base, connecting the two upper floors within, and its open gallery creates a tangibly different spatial experience. Nonetheless, the familiar saddleback roof, with its historical timber trussing that projects out far beyond the facade, remains present in the space – and can now be perceived from many perspectives.
With a lobby that is open to above, the building welcomes its visitors and encourages communication and encounters. The ground floor can be put to a variety of uses: as a dividable multipurpose room, an exhibition space, and a 24-hour library. The library on the first floor, with its media and magazine gallery and its reading stations, offers surprisingly open views though the entire building. Here in particular, the old and the new enter into an exciting dialogue. The balance of past and present becomes the building’s special quality, not only from the outside but especially from the inside.

Competition: 2015
realization: 2016 - 2018
LPH: 1-9
BGF: 860 m²
BRI: 3.500 m³
builder: Community of Kressbronn
place: Kressbronn am Bodensee
photos: Brigida González

Library Kressbronn