The former umbrella factory

Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen

In the spring of 1991 the collection Ludwig moved from the Neue Gallerie in the old Kurhaus on Komphausbad Street into the former umbrella factory on Jülicher Street when it was given the name Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst (Ludwig Forum for International Art). The building was designed by the Aachen architect Josef Bachmann in 1928 and initially housed the largest umbrella factory in Europe, owned by Emil Brauer. At peak times around 1000 umbrellas were produced here per day, which were shipped worldwide. Characteristics of the factory building, later to become the museum, were typical of those of the Bauhaus style. These include the rounded corners of the facade, the lining of the reinforced concrete frame with yellow and red clinker and the play of geometrical forms in the round window above the former main entrance and the rectangular window structure, were each window is divided into groups of smaller rectangles.

In the course of time and due to advancing technology the factory’s staff gradually shrank from 1000 personnel during the boom years to only 100 members of staff. In 1988 the company Emil Brauer was forced to give up the building on Jülicher Street, as an important extension to the factory could not be realised as the factory had been listed as a historical monument.

The City of Aachen thus bought the umbrella factory as well as the adjoining gardens and assigned the Professor Fritz Eller’s architectural firm from Aachen to turn the building into a museum.

The two and three-story framing of the 3000 square meter sized saw-tooth roofed hall was refurbished and converted into multiple exhibition spaces. The frame construction was deliberately left to be visible.

Since it’s opening in 1991, the Ludwig Forum has not only established a name as a place for contemporary arts and culture in the region but also on a nationwide and international basis.

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Photos: Carl Brunn / Ludwig Forum Aachen