b-05 Art Centre

Retrofitting NATO

Montabaur, DE
Jan Nebgen & Leisa Brubaker
Type: Consulting Infrastructure Spatial Design

Commissioned by Jan Nebgen & Leisa Brubaker


  • Framework Design by Studio Miessen
  • Project Leader: Markus Miessen, Diogo Passarinho, Yulia Starsev, Martin Pohl
  • Team: Mahan Shirazi, Hamed Bukhamseen, Caspar Noyans
  • Photography by Jan Nebgen

For this former NATO military compound and bunker site, which was recently transformed into “b-05” contemporary art center, Studio Miessen provides architectural design and spatial consulting: a strategic framework and masterplan as well as an architectural design for a new central exhibition space building (Kunsthalle) including a library and café, and a rethinking, renovation and extension to the former US barracks, which will soon be used as a residency for artists, cultural producers, and students.

B-05 is run and directed by Jan Nebgen and Leisa Brubaker. The former rural NATO ammunitions depot is located near Montabaur, situated between Frankfurt and Cologne in the Westerwald region of Germany. With its distinctive bunkers and streets, the space has been a venue for several art exhibitions such as „There is...“ (2012), including works of Donald Judd or Martin Kippenberger. The site contains eight small, two mid size and five large bunkers connected by small quaint streets.

In the first phase Studio Miessen develops a general communication and information design strategy which will lead to preparations for larger events such as festivals or exhibitions along with the construction of necessary equipment (Commons Center), heating, electricity as well as an approach to put b-05 “on the map”.

Within the next three years a series of accumulative built additions are planned, such as steps towards a residency program and its accompanying facilities. The overall project falls into the category of what in Germany is known as “Rückbau”, the slow but steady architectural de-militarization of former military sites. A vital part will also be establishing local and regional functions of the space, utilizing the space as a way of interacting with b-05's past, expanding it towards a broader audience and finding possible ways of in-house publishing.

b-05 is located at a site not only historically loaded but also physically unique. Both of the aspects are being strategically exploited in order to create an outstanding cultural infrastructure that operates on a local, regional, and international scale.

The sharp division of the two branches of bunkers makes the entrance a key node in maintaining the integrity of the entire complex. On the other hand, the diversity of the landscape allows for multiple spatial experiences both in terms of physical quality and the views they provide.

More soon.