Schauwerkstatt/B4Copyright: © Göbels
We encounter photos on Instagram, in magazines or on posters, in private living rooms, in museums or archives. Their way of making and materiality, their composition and their play with reality are manifold and as historical documents they reflect technical as well as social developments.
In recent decades it has been recognized that photography is an important artistic and documentary medium, and in recent years it has also been established that it needs a place - a competence center - that does justice to its special role. And so, after a long cultural-political process, the foundation of a Federal Institute for Photography with the aim of preserving photographs for a cultural memory, collecting, restoring and researching them is imminent.
A building site was chosen on the grounds of the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001) between the Folkwang University of the Arts and the 55-meter-high double trestle winding tower, which is also a landmark for the city of Essen and the entire region. The Sanaa building and the Ruhr Museum with a permanent exhibition on the cultural and natural history of the Ruhr region and industrialization are also located in the immediate vicinity.
Following the location, concept, existing space and functional program of the planned Federal Institute, the issued B4 takes up this exciting cultural-political development and differentiates the architectural task by focusing on the (semi-) public area. It is about developing an architectural typology that, as a show workshop, offers spatial solutions for the presentation of photographic images, but also the communication of their materiality and development, whether in the laboratory or through technical digital manipulation. It is about creating a place where the medium of photography is made accessible to the public and where it can be exhibited in a sustainable way.