David Chipperfield inaugurates the extension of the Kunsthaus Zürich

David Chipperfield Architects Berlin inaugurates the Kunsthaus Zürich extension

Kunsthaus Zürich extension, designed by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin, opens to the public, making Switzerland’s largest art museum

The recently enlarged Kunsthaus Zürich has opened its doors to the public. The extension, designed by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin, makes Switzerland’s largest art museum.

The bold geometric shape of the new building, located on the north side of Zurich’s Heimplatz, emphasizes urban space, with the creation of new outdoor public spaces. Located opposite the existing museum building – originally designed by Karl Moser in 1910 and enlarged by various architects over the decades – the new addition opens up two new spaces to the community: an urban plaza to the south of the building and, to the north, the new Jardin d’Art, which celebrates nature. These two open spaces are connected by the bright entrance hall of the extension, freely crossed by visitors. Meanwhile, an underground passage connects the new and existing buildings.

The open staircase and the simple orientation © Noshe

The extension, which spanned 12 years in planning and construction, stays true to David Chipperfield’s emphasis on purity of form, with a grid pattern and graphic interiors. Conviviality is maximized with the division of the space into four key areas, including an art exhibition dating from the 1960s that unites different genres including sculpture, painting, photography and new media arts in an exploration of artistic possibilities of the period. The Emil Bührle collection, temporary exhibitions and the exhibition on classical modernism are also hosted.

The central entrance hall of the new Kunsthaus Zürich extension becomes a hub for community events, as well as a showcase for art. On the ground floor, a café-bar – now home to Max Ernst’s largest preserved work – a museum shop and event hall serve as a place of entertainment, while the two upper floors, flooded of natural light, shelter the exhibition spaces.

“The Kunsthaus Zürich expansion project brings together the fundamental concerns of museum design with the responsibilities created both by the urban context and the relationship with the existing museum,” explains David Chipperfield. “From the outset, we sought to endow the museum with the physical qualities that enhance the museum visitor experience while taking into account the civic nature of the building and the institution. We hope that the quality of the architecture, its spatial, formal and material resolution will ensure that the extension, like Karl Moser’s original building, becomes an integral part of the physical, social and cultural infrastructure of the city of Zurich. ‘ §

Event hall © Noshe

Central hall, view to the north © Noshe

Exhibition space, second floor © Noshe

Museum shop © Noshe

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Margarita B. Bittner

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