Kunsthaus Zurich Museum Extension, Switzerland


The Kunsthaus Zurich museum has showcased a large collection of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and photography since it was opened in 1910. An extension is now planned for the museum to accommodate its growing collection.

The extension was designed by David Chipperfield Architects, which won the competition held by Kunsthaus Zurich in December 2008. The competition saw 20 participants vying for the award.

The preliminary design for the extension was completed by September 2011. The design plan was approved by the city council in December 2011.

Construction on the extension will commence by 2013. Scheduled for completion in 2017, the extension will be financed by Kunsthaus Zurich and through funds raised from private sponsors, foundations and companies.

Museum expansion project details

The extension will include construction of a new building and renovation of the present museum building. The two buildings will increase the museum's capacity by 60% and will accommodate various functions of Kunsthaus Zurich.

At present, the museum is able to display less than 10% of its entire collection. The additional space will be used to accommodate nearly 100 of the the museum's masterpieces that are perpetually lying in storage due to lack of space.

The renovated Kunsthaus will house an antique collection, Swiss art, the Giacornetti foundation as well as prints and drawings. The new building will accommodate the Kunsthaus Collection from the 1960s, the EG Bührle Collection, temporary exhibitions and warehouses.

Design of the Kunsthaus Zurich museum

"The extension was designed by David Chipperfield Architects, which won the competition held by Kunsthaus Zurich in December 2008."

The design will closely integrate the two buildings on either side of Heimplatz, the location of the museum. The combined structure will have a total volume of 79,000m³ and a total area of 20,900m².

The new building is divided into three floors and will occupy 13,000m². The 19th-century Kunsthaus Collection, an international collection from the 1960s, and temporary medium-sized exhibitions that will be placed in the ground and upper floor of the building will occupy 6,150m².

A 100m² area will be devoted to painting and sculptures on the lower floor. Studios, offices, restoration and group rooms meant for education will be allocated 600m².

The new building will have a 500m² central hall. The build also includes a ticket office, cloakroom, museum shop, cafe and kitchen. For conducting events, a 250m² foyer, a 550m² event and festival room, 100m² catering space and 100m² of group rooms will be constructed. Back-office and infrastructure will use 2,550m² of building space.

Two main entrances and two side entrances will allow access to the combined building from all sides. The building will have parking space for 50 vehicles.

A subterranean art garden will be integrated with a nearby cantonal schoolyard. It will be connected to the hall through a single-run staircase, facing the school.

2009 design revision and project timeline

During the first half of 2009, the winning design was revised based on feedback from the competition jury.

"The renovated Kunsthaus will house an antique collection, Swiss art, the Giacornetti foundation as well as prints and drawings."

While the actual concept was retained, the design incorporated an enhanced art garden and reduced building volume by 6%.

Overall width of the building was reduced by 2.8m, while length was abridged by 1.4m. Space for the central hall and exhibition was reduced marginally, the workshops were resized significantly.

To provide a more precise location on Heimplatz, the new building was shifted 1.4m northwards. The exterior space of the building was extended by widening walkways created along the four sides of New Kunsthaus.

The extension will be carried out in three phases. Phase one, undertaken between 2006 and 2009, included planning and analysis of the project, transferring of property, holding the competition and sanctioning of a loan from the city of Zurich.

The project's further planning and development, fundraising, additional project loan and credit facility are being undertaken in the second phase, from 2009 to 2012. The third phase, from 2013 through 2017, will oversee tender invitations, procurement of building permission and construction approval and commencement of construction.