The $230-million, environmentally pioneering project will make it the largest art museum in Switzerland
The Kunsthaus Zurich, one of Switzerland’s most acclaimed museums with art collections ranging from the 13th century to the contemporary, will unveil a massive extension designed by David Chipperfield Architects, which will double the museum’s size, in October 2021.
Intended to breathe new life into the urban landscape and establish the museum as a cultural hub, the extension boasts multi-purpose workshops, a large event hall and art garden, plus a shop and bar. Many of the facilities will be open to the public outside museum hours, providing a space for artistic engagement and interaction for Zurich locals and visitors alike.
The extension is connected to the existing building by a 70-yard underground passage, which opens to a central lobby, made with recycled exposed concrete, light oak wood, white marble, and elegantly contoured limestone columns. Perhaps more notable than the sleek design, however, is the pioneering energy efficiency. Due to the building’s compact form, geothermal synthetic pipes, light-censored installations, and LED lighting, the total energy required for construction and operation marks a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The new extension makes the Kunsthaus the largest art museum in Switzerland, with a total of more than 120,000 square feet. An integral part of the extension is “Tactile Lights,” a large-scale project by Pipilotti Rist that can be experienced around the museum’s surrounding Heimplatz Square. The exhibition includes an artistically designed mast that projects round, colored patches of light onto the surrounding facades in the evening, while videos are projected onto statues nearby.
Throughout April and May 2021, the Kunsthaus will host a sound installation by Choreographer William Forsythe. The grand opening will take place on October 9 and 10, 2021, with the Kunsthaus Collection being presented for the first time along with the prestigious private Bührle, Merzbacher and Looser collections.