Together with the Kunsthaus, the extension as its counterpart turns Heimplatz into an urban space which links the two buildings both sides of the street. Analogue to the institutional buildings on Rämistrasse the new museum extension also has a generous footprint. The arrangement of roof superstructures, however, also picks up the small scale of its immediate neighbours. A projection and a recessed section front Heimplatz and create a forecourt. A welcoming gesture is created that not only relates to the historical museum building opposite but also extends to the city itself. The new building is urban, sturdy and solid in appearance. The various types of glass used on the façade show that, despite its “stony” mantle, this is a ‘light’ building – a museum whose task it is to transmit light into the interior, and to work with light.
One continuous ‘stone carpet’ with different surfaces stretches from the existing Kunsthaus to the extension building. Heimplatz is transformed into a generously proportioned public space that links the two buildings while opening up this additonal area for the Kunsthaus to use. Tramlines and curbs create relief-like elements; road markings a form of ground painting.
On the ground floor of the new building, the central entrance hall, the events rooms and shop foyer are designed to create a system of ‘squares and paths’, inviting visitors to access the building from various points. The sequence of ‘squares and paths’ is repeated in the garden where ‘art islands’ are formed against the backdrop of existing trees. Paving is laid over the whole of Heimplatz, is continued inside the museum building with the hall floor covering and in the form of slabs in the garden. Varying dimensions and surface finishes are used – smoothed, polished and in sections, as well as gravel.
‘Squares’ and ‘paths’ have a structuring function inside the museum. These are generously proportioned, light-filled connecting spaces that orientate visitors and open up visual axes – up and down between the floors and out into the open, into the garden and the city. These high interim spaces for ‘movement and light’ are used for information and relaxation purposes, as well as for ‘setting the scene’. They are both areas visitors pass through as well as spaces for art. The exhibition rooms themselves can be linked to form both associative as well as mandatory routes. The lit naturally rooms with their views to the outside set the scene between different exhibition sections as well as serving as areas for relaxation while touring the building. The exhibition rooms are more reserved – classical, rectangular rooms with suspended light ceilings of glass. Their size and proportions vary as well as the wood used for the parquet floors and the way they have been laid.
Various lighting solutions make it possible not only to regulate natural light in the exhibition rooms but to create a lively atmosphere. Natural light enters the exhibition rooms from the side of overhead light superstructures in order to capture different shades of light: depending on the time of day and year, the weather and the direction, the light has a delicate yellow, blueish or orange tint. The building’s own ‘luminosity’ comes into its own, for example, when vernissages are held in the evening: while the interior is brightly lit, a small amount of light penetrates the almost completely closed strip blinds in the overhead light spaces.
The supporting structure is made largely of concrete. Steel has been used, however, in the overhead light spaces where narrower beams have been inserted and the load reduced so as to obstruct the ingress of light as little as possible. The façade has been designed as a translucent and ‘light bearing’ wall. It is made of glass and stone – of windows and diverse glass brick elements and concrete sections with glass bricks, the ‘grain’ of which results in varying degress of translucence and transparency depending on requirements:
Glazing along the sides of the overhead light spaces and their precisely adjustable strip blinds is in the form of large dimensioned, highly translucent, rear ventilated, etched glass brick elements. At floor level additional, rear ventilated wall cladding has been used made of light beige/grey concrete elements with mortar containing siliceous sand, interspersed with small glass bricks. These blurred ‘peepholes’ partially render the building’s wall structure visible. The side and panorama windows are rear ventilated box windows. Glass solar panels on top of the overhead light superstructures provide the technically most advanced form of energy to be gained from light. Glass is used in various forms: with matte, structured or reflecting surfaces, as ‘bricks’, panes, or solar elements, grainy or pointillistic. The translucent material – glass – lends the building its distinctive character and signals that this is a museum, a building type whose primary function is to enable the visual appreciation of works of art under optimum lighting conditions. The overhead light superstructures are of different height depending on the depth of the exhibition rooms and the number of translucent light wall sections in the overhead light spaces. This law of physics results in an inviting, relief-like roof landscape.
Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects, Zurich
Ivana Vukoja, Nicolai Rünzi, Christian Maggioni, Karsten Buchholz, Damien Andenmatten, Matthias Greschner, Yuta Kanezuka, Hannes Rutenfranz
Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten BSAL SIA, Zurich
Ghisleni Planen Bauen GmbH, Rapperswil
Dr. Schwartz Consulting AG, Zug
Waldhauser Haustechnik AG, Ingenieurbüro USIC/SIA, Basel
BAKUS - Bauphysik & Akustik GmbH
Enz&Partner GmbH, Ing. Büro für Verkehrswesen, Zurich
(natural light): Arup Lighting, London, GB
(artificial light): LICHTDESIGN Ingenieurges.m.b.H., Frechen Königsdorf, D