The Kunsthalle building is considered a landmark of Bielefeld. It is located in the centre of East Westphalia, between Bielefeld’s old town and the foothills of the Teutoburg Forest. In front of the building, you can see the Neustaedter Marienkirche and the Sparrenburg in the distance. Built by Philip Johnson in 1968, the museum and exhibition house has been renovated since 2002 and, thanks to an initiative of the Förderkreis Kunsthalle Bielefeld e.V., is illuminated at night.
The Kunsthalle Bielefeld is part of the Architecture Route Art Museums (Architekturroute Kunstmuseen).
Philip Johnson (1906-2005) built the cube-shaped, modern building of red Main sandstone from 1966 to 1968. It is the only European museum building by the American Harvard graduate and former collaborator of Mies van der Rohe, who established the architecture department at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
The cubic art hall architecture, based on a square ground plan, comprises three floors above ground and two below. The entrance hall with café and adjacent painting studio for art education as well as the first and second exhibition floors are above ground.
The lower floors contain another painting room, a film and lecture hall, a library open to the public and the administration. The building, with its almost 1,200 square metres of exhibition space, has an international reputation as an architectural monument, museum and art gallery.
Philip Johnson was a committed National Socialist in the 1930s. Since 2018, the sculpture “Bus Shelter XII. Shattered Glass / The Confessions of Philip Johnson” by Dennis Adams has stood in front of the Kunsthalle, casting a critical eye on Johnson’s ambivalent personality.