In just 13 months, the building, built in the classical style and dating from the year 1841, has been completely renovated and enlarged by the addition of an elegant extension. "We wanted to work with the historic fabric of the building as carefully as possible", stated the team of Swiss architects, Lukas Gäbele and Tanja Raufer. Painstakingly and carefully renovated, the building exudes a strength in simplicity and attracts the visitor, not just through its bright and welcoming façade but even more so through the myriad, elaborate details to be discovered within its interior.
The architectural changes and modifications span the time from its earliest days right up to the present:
- The primary goal of the renovation work was to preserve as much as possible of the original fabric of the building.
- The original symmetrical concept of the old building is echoed again in the layout of the new building.
- The extension was given monolithic walls of black lightweight concrete, whose characteristics, e.g. insulation, low climate fluctuations are reminiscent of the quarry stone walls of the old building.
- Heating pipes were added to the solid, quarry stone external walls. Because of their physical, structural characteristics, the walls act like a tiled stove and as such, represent an economic and efficient heating concept, that is effective, without radiators disturbing the appearance.
- A wood concrete composite system was selected in order to preserve the original ceiling beams.
- Many of the old spruce and fir tree floors were lovingly restored The new floors are made of larch wood. The floors in the extension and in the large ground floor exhibition room are sealed with a cement-based mixture. The existing shell-limestone tiled floor in the foyer could be preserved to a large extent and was extended by the addition of some new tiles.
- The cellar houses not only historic masonry and a terrazzo floor but also the latest in guest facilities, in modern concrete architecture.
- Almost the complete museum is illuminated by fluorescent tube lighting. Daylight is used as the spectral colour. The original chandeliers are hanging in the Mirror Hall and in the upstairs foyer. The extension is highlighted at night by a subtle, circulating band of light. Even the exterior is illuminated by a band of light, side-mounted lamp standards and concrete lamps.
You will find more information about the Gäbele & Raufer architect team here: www.gaebeleraufer.ch