The stratification of the oil shale forms the basic graphical idea for the design of the building. Monolithic mural slices interpret this stratification. The visitor symbolically wanders through the Earth’s strata and enters a unique room structure that in no way suggests an analogy to conventional buildings. It is intended that the visitor leave everyday routine behind and consciously feel part of the Earth.
Observation platform and accessibility
The observation platform is the pointer to the pit and provides an exciting view across the former landscape of the Messel Pit. Because it is accessed directly from the central foyer, it is possible to charge visitors to the platform independently of a visit to the exhibition. Barrier-free access to the platform is also possible by means of a lift in the foyer.
The existing topography guides the visitor from the bus stop and car park via the ‘Weg der Fragen’ (questions way) to the covered vestibule of the entrance. The central foyer clearly divides the building structure into the public area and the exhibition area, for which an admission charge is required.
The start of the exhibition is provided by the cinema with a generously sized waiting area directly in front.
This area is also used as a central control room for visitors who prefer not to visit the cinema.
The adjoining area, on volcanism, is deprived of all daylight in order to add dramatic reinforcement to the subject.
Client Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst / Hessische Baumanagement Regionalniederlassung Süd
User: Welterbe Grube Messel gGmbH, Messel
Architecture: landau + kindelbacher architekten – innenarchitekten GmbH, München (General planning)
Landscape architecture: Keller & Damm Landschaftsarchitekten Stadtplaner Partnerschaft, München
Scenography: Holzer Kobler Architekturen, Szenographie, Zürich
HNF 870 m²
BGF 2.060 m²
BRI 7.211 m3
Date of Completion: 2010
Landau + Kindelbacher Architects Interior Designers