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previous state

The Neue Schloss (New Castle), once residence of the king of Württemberg, was a late baroque building of three symmetrical wings set at right angles to embrace the space of the Schlossplatz (Castle Square). Two hundred and sixty metres long and more than two hundred metres wide, this is the most emblematic square in the centre of Stuttgart, for which reason it was heavily bombed by allied air forces in the Second World War. Among other buildings of the square, the castle was reduced to rubble until it was faithfully reconstructed in 1964 to become the parliament building for the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.

Not so fortunate was the Kronprinzenpalais, a nineteenth-century palace, also destroyed in the bombing raids and which, at the time the castle was rebuilt, was replaced by a large spaghetti junction tangential to the southern side of the square. Although it was partially covered by a slab over which pedestrians could pass, its six lanes with their dense traffic of cars and trams soon made it clear that the junction was oversized. Besides drastically interfering with the integrity of the Schlossplatz, it hampered the movement of pedestrians along Königstraße, a major civic and commercial axis that runs through the square as it crosses the city.

aim of the intervention

In the 1980s, several competitions called for entries of ideas with a view to resolving this complex problem of urban planning. With the change of millennium, the Stuttgart City Council finally decided to allocate almost a hundred and sixty-two million euros for a project of completely covering this zone of road transport infrastructure. The operation, which entailed a partial reduction of its traffic capacity, aimed to include the space occupied by the pedestrian area consisting of the Schlossplatz and Königstraße.


The cover that now extends over the totality of the spaghetti junction has created the Kleiner Schlossplatz (Small Castle Square), an exclusively pedestrian zone raised some four metres above the Schlossplatz. The connection between the two squares is achieved by way of stairways that form a spacious area of tiered seating, and a new building that occupies the site where the Kronprinzenpalais once stood. The Kunstmuseum (Art Museum) is a free-standing cubic building of some thirty metres high. During the day, its glass facades, with lines of horizontal strips, reflect the surrounding buildings. At night, however, they are completely transparent and reveal an inner cube finished with travertine plaques, which houses the spaces of the museum’s temporary exhibitions. The permanent collection is located underground, beneath the Kleine Schlossplatz and occupies two of the four tunnels that were once used by the vehicular traffic. The two tunnels, now connected by galleries, are lit by natural light coming through a number of large skylights that cross the square’s surface in a longitudinal direction. At night, this glass strip emits light from the tunnels up into the square.


The intervention has been successful in making the most of the complexity of a starting point that had accumulated quite a range of problems over time. The powerful cubic presence of the Kunstmuseum definitively restores the corner that the square lost when the Kronprinzenpalais was bombed, a project that was made very difficult to achieve because of the subsequent construction of the spaghetti junction. The error entailed therein has now been rectified by reclaiming the space for pedestrians, an intervention that not only includes the surface of the Kleine Schlossplatz but also the tunnels beneath it. Again, the difference of level between the two squares that was imposed by the pre-existing subterranean infrastructure has provided a good excuse for introducing a stairway which, perfectly oriented to look over the Schlossplatz and the castle, also offers a popular space of tiered seating at a tangent to the hustle and bustle of Königstraße. The result is a well-connected system of public spaces that notably enriches the centre of the city of Stuttgart.

David Bravo Bordas, architect

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The meeting of the two squares is articulated by means of stairways that also constitute an ample area of tiered seating.

technical sheet

CITY: Stuttgart

COUNTRY: Germany




AREA: 26,000 m2

COST: 162,000,000 €



Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart


Hascher Jehle Architektur