Architecture Magazine

Kuchlbauer's Bierwelt, Abensberg, Germany

By The Grumpy Old Limey @GrumpyOldLimey

bierwelt Graz, Graz, AustriaBreweries are not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about unique and inspired architecture but for German brewer Leonhard Salleck that was precisely what happened in the late 1990's. The Kuchlbauer´s Bierwelt has, to say the least, a lengthy history and can trace it origins back to the late 1400's. More recently the brewery has been in the Salleck family since 1904. The brewery brews specialty "Weissbier" or Wheat Beer and, while it is a relatively small operation, it is ...

RรถmerstraรŸe 5, 93326 Abensberg, Germany
48°49'0.00"N 11°50'32.92"E
No Google Maps "Street View" Available - Not Included In Google Earth Tour

... highly successful based on its reputation for brewing high quality beers. In addition to the brewing operation the Kuchlbauer´s Bierwelt offers themed tours which include, amongst other things, historical information about their product and its ingredients and displays of old brewing and bottling equipment from the days when the brewing process was significantly more manual than it is nowadays. The tour also includes the now world famous Kuchlbauer Tower.
In the late 1990's Herr Salleck had visions of adding a tower on the brewery's land and his hope was that famed Austrian painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser [1928-2000] would design the tower. In 1999 after initially indicating he did not wish to be a part of the project Hundertwasser finally agreed to work on Salleck's Tower. Sadly he died in 2000 and the work had to be completed by his apprentice Peter Pelikan.
The Kuchlbauer Tower is visually stunning and highlights Hundertwasser's most common motifs, a rejection of straight lines, the use of bright and vibrant colors and the crowning of his creations with cupolas or "onion domes". In the course of our research on the tower we discovered that like Frank O. Gehry who was the subject of our first "Architect Spotlight" feature recently Hundertwasser has a body of work which includes a significant contribution to the stranger and, in our opinion, cooler end of the architectural spectrum. As a result Hundertwasser will shortly be the subject of the second "Architect Spotlight" but in the meantime I have provided a gallery of his major projects where you will see clear evidence of the strong themes running through his work.
Ground was broken on the tower in early 2007, the 33 foot diameter, 12 ton observation ball was mounted atop the tower in August 2008 and the tower was opened to visitors January 2010. The tower is not only striking externally but is also a work of art on the inside and has proved a hugely successful addition to the brewery tours and a major tourist attraction in its own right. I doubt I will get to visit any time soon but in case anyone out there will be in the area you can download a brochure here that provides operating hours and admission charges for the 2011 season; you should note that reservations are required.
Along with the amazing architecture which alone is enough to justify a visit the tower also houses one of the world’s largest collection of Weissbier glasses and the Weissbier dwarfs. In addition in the cellar is a full size reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Among his other interests Salleck was a serious student of da Vinci to the extent that he actually wrote a book on the subject - unfortunately as far as I can tell the book "Der Schlussel" is not available at this time - certainly on Amazon that is the case.

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