Little is left of the eighth-century monastery, something which often leaves visitors to this UNESCO monument disappointed. The site itself, however, is striking. A steep hill abutting the old town centre rises where the higher grounds in the west slope down towards the river valley in the east, with a long mountain range as a backdrop.
Our proposal strengthens and enhances the abbey’s intrinsic characteristics and lets the site speak for itself through the power of its mystery, spirituality and spectacular views.
In the past, visitors had to zigzag through a residential area to reach the car park at the bottom of the monastery wall. Under our plan, visitors approach the site across the open landscape along a glorious avenue of lime trees.
The site’s distinctive character could be restored by turning the existing car park into a large field, which the town could use for different events. Cars could be parked instead in the area now occupied by allotments and screened off by erecting two dykes.
Under our plan, visitors are led naturally to the reception area in a modern barn in the Nibelungenstrasse. The street will be redesigned as a pedestrian promenade that links the abbey with the river valley and surrounding farm land.
The new promenade, which features a two-metre-wide bench that replaces the existing wall and fence, leads up to the museum and the Torhalle at the main entrance to the monastery. A gravelled area marks the boundary between the town and the original grounds of the abbey.
The abbey’s grounds are to be stripped of everything that has been added, including steps, slopes, gardens and pergolas. The original curved shape will be restored. There will be paths linking the historical objects scattered around a flower meadow, whose colours, as they change with the seasons, will offer a breathtaking scene. By leaving the area untouched, the meadow will heighten the subtle mystery of this historic site.
Verwaltung der Staatlichen
Schlösser und Gärten Hessen
Peter Sas Architecten
Michael van Gessel