Arne Jacobsen Foyer
The Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover, the history of which goes back to 1675, are among Europe’s most important baroque complexes. In 1965, the city of Hanover commissioned the Danish architect and designer, Arne Jacobsen, to build a glass structure in the north of the grounds to serve as a foyer connecting one of the gallery buildings from the late seventeenth century to the Herrenhausen Palace Museum. Named after its architect, this masterpiece of late modernist building is distinguished by its unpretentious elegance.
The foyer represents only a part of Jacobsen’s larger vision. He originally planned several buildings for this part of the garden, which had been destroyed in World War II. They included a spectacular new building named “Bella Vista” – an observation deck with a café—instead of the bombed-out palace, a museum adjacent to the Orangery, and a glass foyer for the gallery building, which was ultimately the only building to be realized. Nearly fifty years later, in 2011–13, the palace was rebuilt as a museum and conference center featuring a reconstruction of the former neoclassical façade.
The 48-meter-long and 12.5-meter-wide Arne Jacobsen Foyer is accessed from both sides at ground level. A staircase connects the upper and lower levels. The latter consists of three freestanding square platforms linked together by way of footbridges. This clever arrangement allows sunlight to fall into the lower level.
The foyer’s façade consists of ceiling-high glass panes that are held with glass fins and joined without profiles. As such, the boundary between interior and exterior are suspended and the garden seems to flow into the building. A cast-iron pergola from 1862, located outside on the south side of the structure, offers protection from the sun.
The landmark-listed foyer underwent a thoughtful restoration in 2014–17, carried out by the Hanover firm of Koch Panse Architekten. The modernization, which especially provided for adapting the building to today’s energy and climate standards, is almost imperceptible from the outside. On the inside, the furnishings now include such classics by Jacobsen as chairs from the ‘Series 7’ as well the ‘Egg’ and the ‘Swan’. [KS/HY]