Sturm und Wartzeck
National Park Centre Ruhestein | Black Forest
best architects 23
Ruhestein pass, Germany
The visitor centre of
the newly founded Black Forest National Park is located at the Ruhestein pass
(915 metres above sea level) in the middle of a unique landscape. The main
characteristic of the first national park in Baden-Württemberg is the native
primeval forest with its distinctive deadwood trunks. Here, bent tree trunks
piled on top of each other become visible, and even the natural forest floor displays
a structure of layered branches. Following the motto of the national park
(«a trace wilder»), the architecture of the visitor centre consists of staggered
elongated blocks that stretch like fingers into the surrounding forest. The
analogy to the forest continues in terms of the surface and materiality of the façade.
Silver-grey shingles reproduce the colour and texture of the scaled fir trunks.
While the transverse skywalk reaches deep into the woods, the leaning
observation tower rises over the treetops as a widely visible landmark. The
blocks are arranged at different angles, according to the internal logic of the
building. The intersecting wings housing the permanent exhibition, for example,
guide visitors on a slowly descending path through the cosmos of the Black
Forest. Furthermore, the building offers a restaurant with a sun terrace as
well as a cinema, training rooms, lecture rooms and the administrative offices
of the visitor centre.