Swiss National Museum, Zurich

Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zürich, Fischer Architekten AG Zürich

Awarded second prize in the competition, this proposal places the National Museum along with a new forecourt as an ensemble beside the train station. On the side facing the park the plinth building is a plateau that makes an inviting gesture and creates a new level of perception in the relationship to the city, the river, and the park.

The National Museum Zurich (until 2010 Swiss National Museum) was originally opened in 1898 in a new, castle-like building, designed by Zurich architect Gustav Gull that stands to the north-east of the main building of the Central Train Station and is Switzerland’s most-visited history museum. A planned annex was to provide room for exhibitions, a library, and a lecture theatre.

The entry by Fischer Architekten in the international competition was based on an uncompromisingly clear solution. By removing the entrance wing on the River Limmat side the building’s orientation, which was cramped and focused largely on the train station, is opened up. A new forecourt extends spatially as far as Walcheplatz and positions the National Museum as an ensemble beside the train station.

The demolition of the Limmat wing creates greater permeability towards the adjoining Platzspitz Park. On the park side the plinth building forms a new plateau that brings the park into the museum. The new buildings that frame the museum are connected to the park gallery by voids. The courtyard type is idealised, its axial relationship to the park is strengthened, and it can be experienced as a contemplative part of the exhibition. The demolished facades are used as ornamental spolia in the new building.

This project was worked on jointly by Leuner & Zampieri and Fischer Architekten.

Museumstrasse 2, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
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Task Renovation and extension to the National Museum
Job type Competition after prequalification
Mention 2nd prize
Time period 2000–2001
Challenge Historical existing building by Gustav Gull