Waren's Müritzeum combines an aquarium, visitor centre and exhibition centre under one roof
The town of Waren is in the northern part of Müritz. It is a major tourist attraction just over an hour’s drive from Berlin or Hamburg. Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB were selected to design its visitors centre after a competition.
There was an attractive point in the idea of a wall composed of wood elements burned to the appropriate charcoal level - as the architects put it: "Finally, a maintenance-free treatment for an exterior exposed wood design!" The result of the slightly downward curving cones is an exterior that absorbs light like a black hole in space, at the same time as the panels at close range trap the sunrays in the whiteness of the ash.
A high, central room is surrounded by a series of exhibition themes; ice age, fauna, flora, mankind etc, but also by a slit giving direct access to the surrounding park with an older exhibition building and a natural walk around the small Lake Herrensee and a final roof climb to the viewing platform towards Lake Müritz.
Up in the central room, Germany’s largest freshwater aquarium protrudes with a large shoal, advertising the aquarium section one floor below. On the entry level a glassed-in bay window juts out, with lots of binoculars in an eagle’s head, while the lower floor has the exhibition’s pièce de résistance; a seamlessly inserted window in Herrensee’s water and its population of carp. In reality it is a cleaned pond, separated from the murky lake waters.
The bay window, glass in the water and the park bar are all, like the entryway, parallel slits cut through the cones. The roof protrudes powerfully out over the south-facing, double-height glass facade. All the surfaces here are honey yellow, varnished grain rich larch reminding one of the care that a much-loved wooden boat receives.