Visitors’ Centre at the Hercules Monument, Kassel Read more

Visual axis leading from downtown Kassel across Wilhelmshöhe Palace to the Hercules monument

© Jens Achtermann

The visitor center is located just behind the Hercules Monument at the highest point of the historic Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe complex, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Given the sensitive location, the building structure acts as a landscape element – a large worked erratic block – located at the transition between green space and parking lot. Its polygonal figure is visible on the building's interior. Shortly after entering, one can see the Hercules Monument through a large panorama window. This visual relationship accompanies the visitor as he walks through the building to the upper level. There, another window opens with a view of the Drusel valley. Seating steps offer the opportunity to rest, gather and watch films, presentations, and information projected on the western wall of the lower lobby. The upper level houses an exhibition on Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe and the ticket and souvenir shop. Conceptually understood as part of the topography, the building is made of exposed concrete both inside and out. Even the rooftop visible from the Hercules Monument was made of concrete and kept free of superstructures. With its rough relief pattern, the outer skin references the porous rock of the Hercules Monument and natural surroundings, while the interior's exposed concrete surface is soft and smooth.


Honourable Mention – Concrete in Architecture Award 2014
Simon-Louis-du-Ry-Plakette of the Association of German Architects (BDA) in Hesse 2013

Competition 1st Prize, 2006
Client Land Hessen
Planning started 2006
Completion 2011
Total floor area 730 sqm

Team: Sonja Hehemann, Diana Sarić

Planning and Realization
Project Coordination: Per Pedersen
Project Management: Jens Achtermann
Team: Antje Bittorf, Sonja Hehemann, Julia Löscher, Florian Nusser, Brigitte Fischer

Local Construction Management: ATELIER 30 Architekten GmbH
Landscape architecture: Levin Monsigny Landschaftsarchitekten, Berlin
Jens Achtermann, Maja Wirkus