In this residential suburb of Munich, the large plots allotted to the villas merge in a sort of on-going park with consolidated plantations of birch trees, willows and a few evergreens. In the midst of dense foliage alongside a 1960s house, another small dwelling was demolished to construct a gallery for the Goetz collection of works gathered over the last 30 years, including works by Ryman, Twomby, Kounellis and Nauman. When the commission was received, it was not clear whether the exhibition would be open to the public or for strictly private enjoyment. The proposed volume therefore closes the perspective of the garden from the house, while placing it beside the road. The height of the cornice and the maximum possible surface per floor were prescribed by local by-laws, making it necessary to partially bury the volume in order to insert the envisaged exhibition space.
Thus the studio proposed a buried concrete box that holds up a grid of wood and glass. Avoiding the normal solution of reserving the basement for drawings or video facilities, a glass belt feeds natural lighting into the below-ground rooms while also resolving the interface between the building and the ground outside. The same lighting mechanism is used on the upper level, trapping the plywood panels of birch that tie the laminated wooden structure between two belts of translucent glass, while at the same time hiding the exhibition area upstairs. This enclosure, which wraps the building with a uniform regularity, blurs the exterior perspective of the episodes of a cross section that is aimed at breaking down the stratification of the box. Hence, a double height space is associated with the stairs set in the north headwall while two U-shaped concrete boxes at the entrance level, housing the library and the reception area, cross the void of the lower room to force a vertical relationship between each room.
Abstract and introspective, the exhibition area has no relationship with the exterior. The 4 and 5.5 metre high walls are rendered in unpainted plaster, their surfaces retaining the light filtering through the translucent glass. Both the upper floor and the basement are divided into three areas interlinked by aligned voids that replace views of the park with interior perspectives. From the outside, one only knows what is happening on the inside through the transparent panes of glass of the library, which permit a perspective beyond the silent volume of this small case for art.[+][+]
Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Museum for a Private Collection of Contemporary Art
Herzog & de Meuron Project Team
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre Meuron.
Project Team: Mario Meier.
Partner Architect: J.P. Meier-Scupin; Electrical Engineering: Nelhiebel; HVAC Engineering: Waldhauser AG; Structural Engineering: Behringer & Müller; Gallery Space Conception: Helmut Federle.
Facade Engineering: Glasbau Hahn, Glasbau Uhlmann, Holzbau Schmid.
Margherita Spiluttini; Hisao Suzuki