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Extension Bündner Kunstmuseum

In extending the Kunstmuseum Chur the issue is achieving a delicate balance between adding and alterations of use. On the one hand the existing Villa Planta is to retain its formative role. On the other hand the extension building is to assert its independence and should also to be clearly identifiable as a new entrance. While spatial and functional deficits are to be remedied and the exhibition spaces in the new building are to meet the newest demands, in the old building exhibitions will still be presented in a kind of living room architecture and the garden is to completely retain its presence. Ambivalent situations of this kind call for solutions that move between independence and addition, between systems and departures from them and in this way lead to an architecture of ‘both-and’.

The new building achieves this by a form that is cut out at the corners. The dramatically tall silhouette makes clear that this is not merely an addition. The set-back hollow areas created by the volumetric incisions make a strong sculptural statement that invites visitors to come closer while also establishing a relationship to the reactivated historic main entrance to the site. At the same time the stepped shape reduces the building’s volume as a gesture of respect to the sensitive context.

The stringency of the Villa Planta is to be augmented by a sequence of powerful spaces. On the open ground floor a glazed foyer is envisaged, which in summer extends across the opened corner into the inner courtyard. A void in the entrance area allows a first view of the exhibition. Step-by-step the visitor is admitted into the building. The exhibition area connects with the outside world in a gradual sequence. The first basement level that houses the permanent exhibition is divided by load-bearing walls into five spatial layers. The existing fabric and the new building are connected to each other by a generous visual and circulation axis. The temporary exhibition space on the second basement level is conceived as an open floor that is kept free of columns thanks to a specially developed structural concept. As the walls can be placed wherever needed, this space is extremely flexible and can be used in a variety of ways, enabling it to meet the complex requirements of modern exhibition concepts in an ideal way.

Visualisations: © PONNIE Images, Cologne, Aachen
Model photographs: © EM2N, Zurich

Index: 181 KMC
Date: Competition 2012

Team EM2N
Partners: Mathias Müller, Daniel Niggli · Associate: Fabian Hörmann · Project team: Onur Akin, Konstantin Lohmann, Caroline Vogel

Specialist planners
Construction management / construction realisation: Walter Dietsche Baumanagement AG, Chur · Landscape architecture: westpol Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH, Basel · Civil engineer: Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure AG, Zurich · Building physics / acoustics: Bauphysik / Akustik BAKUS Bauphysik & Akustik GmbH, Zurich

Chur, Switzerland

Competition, 2nd prize

Canton of Graubünden



Art exhibition halls, Café, Shop, Storage spaces, Workshop spaces

3,350 m²