Kolumba Art Museum & St. Kolumba's Church
Kolumbastrasse, Cologne, Germany

Peter Zumthor
Date Built
2003 - 2007
Kolumbastrasse and Bruckenstrasse

This remarkable building is an art gallery, a church and an historical relic.  Peter Zumthor's grey brick building has engulfed the ruins of the former St. Kolumba church, destroyed along with much of the area around it during the bombing of World War II.  Remnants of the old church have been woven into the exterior walls of the new building and inside more of the old church has been preserved and is open to public view.  Zumthor's design included so-called "filter-walls" where missing bricks create spaced for air and light to enter the building.  Along with the remnants of St. Kolumba there are Roman, Gothic and Medieval relics visible within this part of the building.

One of the survivors of the bombing was a late-Gothic figure of Mary.  This was regarded as a miraculous event and in recognition of it a chapel was designed by Gottfried Bohm to house the relic, the so-called "Madonna of the Ruins" chapel.  This freestanding octagonal chapel is also to be found within the new building.

The museum's website's describes the inside of the chapel.  "To furnish it, Gottfried Böhm designed an altar and four candle stands that were as high as the room and made of a whitish-gray veined marble. On top of the altar a tabernacle was placed that had been made by Elisabeth Treskow (1898-1992), its gilt housing seeded with precious and semi-precious stones. "

Finally, there is the Kolumba Art Museum itself.  It is home to the art collection of the Archdiocese of Cologne that dates back to 1853.  Kolumba sees itself as,
"a Church-sponsored art museum moving away from the traditional collection structure towards a comprehensive portrayal of artistic creation extending beyond all categories and specialisations. As a reflective museum Kolumba offers the chance to come to grips with life transformed into art"

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