Now standing as Zurich’s largest museum, the Kunsthaus opens a new wing, connected by an underground tunnel and designed by London-based firm David Chipperfield Architects.
The Chipperfield extension, cloaked in Jura limestone, is a standalone structure facing the original Kunsthaus across Heimplatz, adding to the three existing buildings from different eras that make up the museum – the Moser building (1910), the Pfister building (1958), the Müller building (1976).
Today the Chipperfield stands as a beacon to the new – the New Kunsthaus is a gateway to a complex and rich world of art, providing an annex of development from the core Kunsthaus, shaping new trends of creativity. Inside there will be four main strands for focus including a unique look at artwork of the 1960s, an Emil Bührle Collection, plus wide, heightened spaces which will serve as experimental and innovative areas in which to experience art.
David Chipperfield Architects’ vision for this important addition to Zurich’s 21st-century art scene was one of clear geometric volume, where light could fill wide voids, creating an elegant yet blank space on which a variety of art could be projected. Plentiful use of exposed concrete throughout allows for a smooth understated backdrop with brass detailing and marble flooring adding a layer of luxe aesthetic. A wide, concrete staircase with gleaming brass rail forms a centrepiece of the museum and opens out onto the top floor’s two galleries.
Outside, the exterior façade is clad in traditional limestone, in a nod to local vernacular, although the stone is placed in vertical slats all around the building making it stand out as a new, innovative structure.
With offices in London, Milan, Berlin and Shanghai, David Chipperfield Architects projects span a huge range from cultural spaces, educational projects and urban masterplans, including the Elbtower in Hamburg and the Wrest Bund Museum in Shanghai. A Chipperfield defining factor is its collaborative attitude towards its projects ensuring the design details are honed to perfected cohesion.
Twelve years of planning and construction behind Chipperfield, the New Kunsthaus is finally finished, giving the urban surroundings into a new and exciting topography.