– Gerhard Steidl, founding director
The Kunsthaus Göttingen is an exhibition space for works on paper (drawings, graphic prints, book and poster art), photography, and new media. The focus is on contemporary art with an international emphasis. In the curatorial planning, close cooperation with the artists is critical. Their work receives a platform, and they also receive the opportunity to create new productions, collaborations, and interactive projects.
The program will feature three to four exhibitions per year as extensive solo or group exhibitions with a diverse collateral program, especially for children and young people.
architecture and courtyard
The idea for the Kunsthaus Göttingen was born out of the idea of giving visual art more space and presence in the city of Göttingen. The building is currently being completed on Düstere Straße 7, next to the Günter Grass Archives. As early as 2008, the publisher Gerhard Steidl and the then-mayor Wolfgang Meyer presented the idea of an art district with the Kunsthaus as its focal point.
For the project planned together with Gerhard Steidl, the city has received funding of 4.5 million euros from the federal program “National Projects of Urban Development.” The Duderstadt entrepreneur Hans Georg Näder is supporting the construction of the Kunsthaus with up to one million euros.
In 2016, the architecture studio Atelier ST from Leipzig was awarded the contract for the architecture and general planning of the Kunsthaus Göttingen after an international architectural competition. The architects Silvia Schellenberg Thaut and Sebastian Thaut combine tradition and the contemporary in their work. Silvia’s concept reflects this in her approach for the Kunsthaus Göttingen: its external appearance transforms regional details and geometries from the context of the Göttingen old town into an independent, modern museum architecture. The new building is thus clearly recognizable as an exhibition space integrated into the cityscape of Göttingen.
Berlin landscape architect Stefan Bernard won the competition for the design of the inner courtyard in 2017.
The four-story construction with its pointed roof engages in dialogue with the neighboring timber-framed houses – here, too, the floor space expands as one ascends. The facade’s grooved plasterwork evokes memories of older warehouses in the street and its surroundings. Via the entrance, visitors step into the foyer of the Kunsthaus where they are greeted by a view of the flourishing inner courtyard. The first exhibition room is situated on the right-hand side. The uniqueness of the building lies in its three beamless rooms of approximately 120 sqm and high ceilings of 3.2 meters. This allows maximum flexibility for varying exhibition concepts across all floors. In order to protect the works on paper, and to enable video installations and projections, the exhibition rooms have only one large, floor-to-ceiling window, which can be concealed if necessary. In addition to the three gallery rooms, the building has two smaller exhibition spaces. Furthermore, there is an approximately 100 sqm forum on the top floor, designed for educational activities and special events. Kunsthaus Göttingen has a total exhibition space of 500 sqm.
One enters the inner courtyard through the foyer. Kunsthaus Göttingen shares its garden with the Rote Strasse bookshop and the office of Göttingen’s annual literary festival. The courtyard is accessible from three sides and forms a communal garden for the neighboring houses. Not far from the main shopping streets, this creates a green oasis, a place for spontaneous meetings, the exchanging of ideas and simply relaxing. The former playground with its sandbox will also return to the courtyard; children will be able to play freely in the bordered garden. An additional highlight is the pavilion in the courtyard containing works by American artist Jim Dine.
Since 2008, the City of Göttingen and Gerhard Steidl have been pursuing the idea of an art quarter. Located in the historic core of the city between Düstere Strasse, Nikolaikirchhof, Nikolaistrasse and Turmstrasse, the district is already considered the nucleus of the Göttingen art scene with an artist’s studio, a framing workshop, a bookbindery, a private gallery, a bookshop, the city’s literature center, the offices of the Göttingen literary festival, an international printing and publishing house with a studio for high-quality exhibition prints, as well as various cafés and other small businesses. The Günter Grass Archive, part of the University of Göttingen, has been active as an exhibition and event space since 2015. In 2016, it was awarded the Monument Preservation Prize by the Lower Saxony Sparkasse Foundation.
Kunsthaus Göttingen will be a unique art space with a focus on the spectrum of international contemporary art in terms of assorted media. As the heart of the art district, it promises a further, valuable revitalization of Göttingen’s cultural landscape, and is hence the most crucial step in the development of the art quarter.