Invisible “Ark for Art“

Invisible “Ark for Art“

Reconstruction of the Albertinum

After the Elbe river floods in August 2002, the Dresden Albertinum has been reconstructed into an “Arche für die Kunst” (Ark for Art) by Volker Staab.


In order to protect the nearly 10,000 works of art of the museum as efficiently as possible against high water, the hitherto unused courtyard has been changed into to a representable atrium and a double-story depot has been built over it. After all in all six years of re-construction time, the house, erected in 1889 above a Renaissance armory, was opened again in June 2010.


Freely floating Bridge

“Can you see? You can’t see anything,“ once was the slogan for a glass cleaning agent. You will have the same impression when walking around the re-constructed Albertinum. Since the depot that has moved in recently can hardly be seen: the 70 meters long, 25 meters wide and 10 meters high archive floats at a height of 17 meters like a huge bridge above the 1,700 square meters large column-free atrium hall. The floor of the depot has been hidden behind a foil facing the room by the architects around Volker Staab, so that the visual effect of a dimmed atrium wall is created. What really happens, however, is that the outer ceiling rows guide filtered light into the hall that can be seen from all levels. Since the depot also doesn’t exceed the height of the Albertinum’s roof ridge, this cannot be seen by the visitors neither from the outside nor from the inside.


Enormous Loads

The new depot provides space on two floors for thousands of paintings hanging from room-high rolling shutters. It also houses the gallery’s workshop. The enormous loads of the depot of nearly 3,000 tons are carried by two mighty steel columns of 70 x 70 centimeters each, invisibly hidden inside the inner walls, reaching beyond the water level of the river Elbe down to a depth of 20 meters. What an effort! Future high water should never be able to reach the pieces of art.


Changed Museum Concept  

Reconstruction measures resulted in another 1,200 square meters of exhibition area as well as in the roofed atrium itself as an impressive lobby area providing space for a Café and a bookshop, it can also be used as a flexibly usable event area. A well-made detail is the new interpretation of the entrance situation in the North towards the Brühl terrace: Since here, the level difference between the entrance there and the hall is a full level, the marveling access to the roofed courtyard is realized via wide stairs leading downstairs. This is also a totally new spatial impression inside the re-arranged Albertinum. As if it never was any different. 

Project details


Staab Architekten, Berlin, Germany


Reconstruction time: 2004 through 2010


Staatsbetrieb Sächsisches Immobilien und Baumanagement


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admin's picture
admin 8. June 2011 - 13:28

Um Classico moderno...mas...diferente. :)

admin's picture
admin 8. June 2011 - 15:18

I'll take it.

admin's picture
admin 8. June 2011 - 15:52

nice interior..

admin's picture
admin 8. June 2011 - 18:07

Detalles neorenancentista en sus torres, vanos y puertas con techos modernos con un toque de vivienda ecológica, excelente!!.