The Museum of Applied Arts (Museum fur Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt) in Frankfurt is an important international museum. Its history began in 1877 with the founding of the Central German Kunstgewerbeverein by Frankfurt citizens. The original collection was established in 1885. In 1921 the museum was changed to a Museum for Arts and Crafts. Frankfurt house was destroyed in World War II, only in 1965 were parts of the collection shown at the Villa Metzler. The current collections embrace 5,000 years of the history of different cultures and include European handcrafts from the 12th to the 21st century, design, book art, graphics, Islamic art, as well as art and handcrafts from East Asia. The works are distinguished by unique aesthetics and technically masterful use of material.
History of the Villa Metzler
Villa Metzler was built in 1804 for the pharmacist Peter Salzwedel, it was used as a summer house because it was situated outside of the city. It is built as a square but classically balanced structure.
Almost 50 years later it was acquired the banker Georg Friedrich Metzler. In the early 60s it was acquired by the city of Frankfurt. Finally, in 1967 it was absorbed as the Museum of Arts and Crafts, which was established with the help of Adolf and Luisa Houses Foundation.
The New Building
Since 1985 the majority of the 30,000 piece collection has been exhibited to the public in the permanent building. The new museum complex was designed by Richard Meier in 1985. The design features a generous ensemble which unites extensive green areas, the old trees, the Villa Metzler and the new main building to an urban landscape on the banks of the River Main. Characteristic of the architecture is a sensitive approach to the museums history. Richard Meier's building is a modern answer, integrating the Villa Metzler with a plan that shows residential character.
Richard Meier oriented in the design of the building to the specifications of the villa, which was involved meaningfully in the new museum complex. The floor plan runs off the extension of a square grid, whose 16 equal squares correspond to the layout of the villa. The villa rises above the northeastern corner square and determines not only the scale of the grid. It is surrounded by an L-shaped halo, with its surface corresponding to the adjacent three squares of the grid. The remaining twelve squares serve as the expansion area. Dimensions, proportions, quantity and placement of the windows are consistent with the classical building. Even basement and eaves of the villa can be found again in the form of a band of gray granite, which breaks the otherwise white facade of square, enamelled metal panels. The buildings are offset at 3.5 degrees from the villa to the parallel grid. Creating a certain tension in the spatial construction. From the intersection of the grid also creates a foot axes and a second small courtyard, together they fragment the ground floor of the extension. The footpaths extend not only through the park and in the adjacent park, they also determine the museum's interior. The visitor follows the upper floors, a glazed route that runs along the footpaths and always provides a view of the courtyard.
Visitors are first welcomed through a generous, bright foyer from which each floor can be reached from a double-flight ramp. Due to its almost fully glazed exterior walls, visitors are granted views of Frankfurt's city center and the Villa Metzler opposite. White plastered walls, light wood floor and through the window coming from the side, natural light show the design of the interiors. The bright, near-neutral exhibition spaces create a peaceful environment, where the exhibits are in the foreground. Light flows through the spacious rooms of the modern Richard Meier building, which invites visitors to interact and communicate. The rooms constantly reveal new perspectives on historical exhibits and the modern spatial structure. Numerous special exhibitions use the dialogue with the architecture to create surprising presentations and reflect the multifaceted contents of the collection between the traditional and the avant-garde.
In August 2007 the Museum of Applied Arts opened its garden with the modern tea house designed by Kengo Kuma.
As of 2013, the museum is undergoing another transformation with the interior being stripped bare to its original architectural intent. During this time, the gallery will be opened briefly to allow visitors to experience the space completely empty, free from ornament or exhibitions. The building itself being the exhibition.