A Swiss architectural practice :mlzd have melded the past with the present by inserting this striking, futuristic-looking extension amidst two, preexisting museum buildings which date back to the late thirteenth century. Located near Lake Zürich, in a picturesque town of Rapperswil-Jona, the multifaceted, perforated brass clad extension provides not only an eye-catching addition to the otherwise conventional-looking museum but also brings it up to date thanks to a number of additional modern facilities such as a new main entrance with a disabled access and a further 170-square-meters of minimalist interior which can serve several functions.
More about the project:
‘The “janus” project, which won a competition held in 2007, is giving the Rapperswil-Jona municipal museum a new profile commensurate with its public significance. It is designed to attract the attention of members of the public interested in culture without stopping at the municipal boundaries and presents the museum and the town as an appealing destination for excursions. The project to put up the new building has been sensitively integrated in the historic town. The view from the north, which is important for the overall visual impression of the town, is to remain unchanged.
‘The building fits discreetly into the background of the historic picture presented by the narrow town-centre streets. With the new terrain situation and the tasteful bronze façade, the building imposes a new emphasis on its immediate surroundings and can easily be read as the main entrance to a modern museum complex.’
‘As a new part of the whole complex, “janus” satisfies the all building-services and operational requirements of a modern, round-the-year museum operation and thus makes it possible for the legacy buildings too to justify their existence as authentic witnesses of their day and age. It is with this same respectful attitude that the shape of the new building has been developed out of the lateral façades of the old buildings. Its façade and roof have been designed in such a way that the existing windows and doors of the old buildings are not intersected anywhere.’
‘Illumination of the building through its roof and the transmission of light from floor to floor deliberately create a stark internal contrast with the legacy buildings. Firstly, that makes it easier for people to find their way around the whole complex and, secondly, the new is clearly offset against the old, heightening awareness for the threshold to the latter. Stepping into the legacy buildings thus becomes an eventful journey in time, back into the past. Thanks to spatial references of this nature, the new building kindles visitors’ curiosity and stimulates them to set out on this journey of discovery. Various direct lines of vision show up the town and museum in unexpected perspectives and vistas. They create the desire to move around in the museum and to get to know the buildings and the exhibitions on display in them.’