The museum, explicitly conceived to showcase the work of the Dadaist master Hans Arp and his circle, is located in a region with a unique architectural heritage in the form of a series of medieval castles that line a 35-mile stretch of the Rhine. Sited on a wooded escarpment overlooking the river, the building responds to and echoes the forms of these captivating relics.
The structure’s entry sequence does not begin in the museum proper, but rather at the base of the bankside mountain in the old village railway station, which has been used as an exhibition space since the 1960s. From here, visitors gradually progress through a series of carefully modulated tunnels and shafts that burrow into and up through the mountain to the new building. This sequence culminates in a 35-meter-long subterranean tunnel that terminates at the bottom of a dramatic 40-meter-high shaft at the access point to two glass-enclosed elevators. These elevators ascend a conical tower structure above grade, where they connect onto a 16-meter-long, glass-enclosed bridge that represents the final stage of the promenade into the museum.
The two main upper-level galleries are illuminated from above with breathtaking natural light supplied by a glazed ceiling fitted with a series of adjustable aluminum louvers providing either complete daylight or daylight modulated with artificial light. A similar, though immobile, louver system occupies the double-height glazed facade facing the Rhine, opening the museum to stunning views of the surrounding valley.