Barozzi Veiga, extension of Fine Arts Museum of Chur (Switzerland)
Photos: Simon Menges
The Bündner Kunstmuseum in Chur is sheltered in the extension of Villa Planta, an eclectic Palladian-style building raised in 1876. The design is a double exercise in maximum integration within an urban ensemble, making the most of the limited site available. The new volume inverts the order that usually characterizes museum programs: instead of placing the exhibition spaces above grade, these are buried so only a cube emerges at street level, containing just the public spaces of access to the museum. This strategy permits reducing the site occupation, extending the existing garden and offering a compact and unitary image onto the street. br>
Though for its bold geometry and abstract language the building is understood as an autonomous piece, its design stems from two decisions that enable a dialogue between the new and the old buildings. This dialogue is based upon the equilibrium between structure and ornament that defines both the abstract cube and the villa. As for their spatial organization, both buildings present a central symmetrical plan and both use geometry as a tool for cohesion.
The envelope’s ornamentation also plays a prominent role, consisting of a detailed grid of reinforced concrete pieces that, in contrast o its context, gives the building an unmistakably contemporary image.
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