KIT architecture

While the tunnel space has an overall size of 1280 sqm, only 888 sqm have a ceiling height of at least 2 m. The entrance area’s floor resembles a ramp pitching towards the horizontal ceiling and creates a diffuse first impression for the visitor. It seems not entirely clear where the room ends. Often this is the first impression of KIT’s particular architecture artists and curator get when visiting KIT for the first time. Accordingly this location is often chosen for the presentation of special works.

A big and bright window shines down through a trapezoidal chute and lifts a little bit of weight from the narrowness in the entrance area. The window as a natural spotlight allows highlighting individual objects and creating new levels of meaning.

After leaving the entrance area visitors pass the grey reception desk. The slope of the floor pulls the visitors’ view down into the tunnel. A 30 m long and 5 m wide, concrete walled corridor leads to the central exhibition space. The entire eastern concrete wall describes a 140 m long elliptical path parallel to the Rhine. The flat central area is often left to its original form during the conceptual design of exhibitions.

The northernmost and therefore deepest part of the tunnel is separated from the rest by a large white cube that contains the staircase of the emergency exit. Above ground the emergency exit is located 40 m north of the café pavilion and is the first visible part of the complex. Below ground the sides of the tunnel converge and merge together. There are still traces of a former access door in the eastern concrete wall of the tunnel. Up until the opening of the Rheinufertunnel for motorists larger pieces and instruments were brought in through that door. The white cube creates a separate space that is particularly well suited for the presentation of film and video works.

Its extraordinary architecture is KIT – Kunst im Tunnel’s reason for existence as an exhibition room. Starting out as a simple static necessity during the construction of the Rheinufertunnel and the Rheinuferpromenade the cultural scene quickly discovered its potential and KIT – Kunst im Tunnel became what it is today: A major center for young, contemporary art in Düsseldorf that made it its mission to inspire locals to embrace art and connect it to everyday life. KIT Café and KIT’s art education programs are important elements in accomplishing that mission. During the past ten years more than 650 artists worked in and with the underground exhibition space making it the non-commercial exhibition space for contemporary art its architects and the City of Düsseldorf envisioned it to be.

KIT – Kunst im Tunnel, 2014, Photo: Ivo Faber

Pablo Lobato, Bronze Revirado, 2011, Photo: Ivo Faber
Pauline M’barek, Der berührte Rand, KIT – Kunst im Tunnel, 2014, Photo: Ivo Faber