Extension of Kunstmuseum Winterthur

The expansion of the Museum of Art in Winterthur, long planned and now realised in the form of a provisional structure, creates the spatial conditions to not only house temporary exhibitions, but also to be able to permanently present the extensive collection of the Kunstverein.

The new building is connected to the museum spaces of Rittmeyer & Furrer’s existing building by a bridge. The exhibition rooms of the addition are simple, rectangular spaces with sawtooth skylights facing north. By means of a simple grid the basic area measuring approximately 1,000 square metres is divided into spaces that vary in both size and proportion. During the tour through the rooms one enters the individual spaces at different locations, creating the impression for visitors of a subtle, spatial differentiation. Three large windows offer the possibility of an outward glance and orientation. Corresponding to the budget-related industrial-like manner in which the building is constructed and illuminated, the floor plan layout, void of circulation spaces, is also very economical and rational. The single storey nature of the museum allows – besides the illumination of all spaces with zenithal light – a flexible combination of the rooms with the various works of art.

The project aims to avoid a makeshift impression within the exhibition rooms, whilst obeying as far as possible the rules of a temporary structure in terms of design and material qualities. This understanding stipulates a layered, two-ply construction: common, long-lasting and - as far as possible - jointless materials in the interior spaces, and additive, recyclable elements that can be quickly mounted or de-mounted for construction, insulation and cladding. Hence, the interior of the building is largely built as a solid into the load-bearing, lightweight steel construction. Gypsum masonry forms large-surface, jointless walls, and a poured, floating granolithic concrete floor serves to accommodate heavy loads.

The building is insulated with standardised, steel sheet C-profiles filled with insulation batts. The C-profiles are mounted between the vertical members of the steel construction. The underside of the museum floor and the facades are insulated with these galvanised, perforated panels. They are protected from the weather by sheets of galvanised metal on the roof and vertical rows of glass profiles on the facades. The same glass profiles, set apart with open joints in between, serve on the ground floor to illuminate and ventilate the parking spaces, while they simultaneously “ground” the museum building, which seemingly hovers above the garage.

Location Winterthur, Switzerland

Programme 9 exhibition spaces, connection to the existing museum by a bridge, parking space on the open ground floor

Competition 1993, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 1994–1995

Client Kunstverein Winterthur

Gross Floor Area 2'364 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Michael Widrig (Project Manager), Stefan Gasser
Competition: Michael Widrig

Structural Engineer Branger & Conzett AG, Chur

Building Services Engineer Waldhauser Haustechnik AG, Basel

Daylighting Consultant Institut für Tageslichttechnik Stuttgart, Germany

Lighting Consultant Lichtdesign Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Cologne, Germany

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein

Awards Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture – Finalist, 1997

Davos Sports Center
Converted into: Davos Tourism and Sports Center

The sports center replaces the wooden ice-rink building from the Davos architect Rudolf Gaberel, which fell victim to fire in 1991. Like its predecessor, the new building bounds the field of the racing ice rink or the sports facilities to the north, respectively, and defines the rear arrival space.

The building volumes react differently with regard to these two outdoor spaces: with a two-story projecting grandstand bordering the ice field that is permeable to light, air and vistas, and with a one-story, compact projection towards the arrival side. A plethora of varying uses are densely and efficiently united in the prismatic building volume: a large dressing room, restaurants, a kitchen, offices, a garage for the ice-rink machine, sports medicine rooms, club dressing rooms, an apartment and guest rooms for seminar visitors.

The narrow grandstand is spatially and functionally related to the neighboring public spaces of the restaurant and the large dressing room. It shades its large glazing areas like a brise-soleil. Beyond its actual function, the grandstand itself is used by visitors as a balcony for enjoying the panorama, the fresh air and for sunbathing. The pillars of the grandstand are made of concrete. They allow the constructive assembly of the entire building to be recognized on the outside—a concrete building that is clad or left unclad depending upon the usage at hand. On the exterior, a two-layered, wooden façade cladding—similar to two superimposed wooden fences—envelops the insulated building volume. The railings, the sliding window shutters and even the windows are developed from this constructive principle of the façade. The inner sheathing of the façade cladding in planed pine is painted in color, while the outer sheathing layer, which is mounted and distanced by horizontal steel profiles, is made of rough-grade larch wood.

The changes in coloration of the unfinished wood caused by the weather contrast with the colorfulness of the paint on the inner façade layer. While the coat of paint should protect the inner sheathing and the windows, it should especially reflect the colorful world of sports. In collaboration with the artist Adrian Schiess, three colors were chosen for the façade that spread out in large areas across the sides of the building—tones of coloration in a light orange, a complementary blue and a glowing yellow.

A color palette extended by six additional hues—dark blue, raspberry, white, apricot, light green and turquoise—continues and heightens the colorfulness of the building in its interior spaces. Wooden elements—window frames, doors as well as wall and ceiling panels for acoustical absorption and the cladding of ventilation and electrical services—are the exclusive carriers of color. They stand in contrast to the concrete walls of the load-bearing construction that are left unfinished or are plastered.

The interior as well as exterior signage of the building is painted in large scale directly on the building parts, similar to the printed logos and numbers of sports clothing. This is also the case with the “Davos” sign on the front façade, which is to publicize this vacation sports place on future postcards and victory photographs.

Location Davos, Switzerland

Programme Sports Center with a two storey grandstand bordering the ice rink; Ground floor: entrance hall, restaurant, kitchen, large public dressing room, offices, garage, terrace
First floor: club dressing rooms, sports medicine rooms, lobby, seminar rooms, offices, apartment, self-service restaurant and grandstand
Second floor: guest rooms seminar visitors, recreation rooms, showers/toilettes, drying rooms

Competition 1992, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 1993–1996 / 2007–2009

Client Kur- und Verkehrsverein, Davos

Gross Floor Area 3'955 m2

Team G/G Remodeling Tourism and Davos Sports Center:
Markus Seiler (Project Manager), Kristin Sasama
Davos Sports Center:
Planning/Construction: Raphael Frei, David Leuthold
Competition: Raphael Frei, Judith Brändle, Rina Plangger

Site Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects, Zurich with Othmar Brügger, Davos

Structural Engineer Construction: DIAG Davoser Ingenieure AG, Davos
Grandstand: Branger + Conzett AG, Chur
Competition: Aerni + Aerni Ingenieure AG, Zurich

Signage Trix Wetter, Zurich

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein
© Joël Tettamanti

Awards Auszeichnung gute Bauten Graubünden 2001


Railway Station Baar with shops, offices and apartments

Location Baar, Switzerland

Programme Construction of a mixed use development on the railway site: Railway infrastructure, retail space, offices, apartments, underground parking

Competition 2004, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2004–2008

Client Total Complex: Migros-Pensionskasse, Zurich
Public Square: Municipality Baar
Railway Infrastructure: SBB Swiss Railways, Lucerne

Gross Floor Area 6`500 m2 (above ground)

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Pit Brunner (Team- and Project Manager), Mathias Brühlmann, Alex Zeller, Ingo Brinkmann
Competition: Mathias Brühlmann, Ulrike Horn

Total Contractor Halter Generalunternehmung AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Vetsch Nipkow Partner, Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich

Structural Engineer ARP André Rotzetter + Partner AG, Baar

Electrical Engineer Mosimann & Partner AG, Affoltern am Albis

Building Services Engineer Hans Abicht AG, Zug

Building Physics Engineer Wichser Akustik & Bauphysik AG, Zurich

Signage Peter Spalinger, Atelier für Gestaltung, Bremgarten

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Lucas Peters

Awards Auszeichnung guter Bauten im Kanton Zug 2006–2015, Anerkennung

Municipal Works Yard

The urban design concept of the project is demonstrated in the siting of the workshop building and the choice of materials. Firstly, the new building closes the arrival space of the sports center bordering the Talstrasse, in order to both accentuate and heighten the precision of the spatial connection to the Kurpark. Furthermore, the theme of wooden façades is taken up in reference to the existing building.

The ground floor footprint of the two-story volume is reduced to those rooms that must be located on the ground floor: the garages for the trucks and snowplows, the automobile repair workshop and carwash, and the carpentry workshop. The remaining spaces, storage rooms and offices are placed on the upper floor. This uneven usage distribution generates cantilevers on the second floor on both of the longer building sides, serving to protect the entrance areas of the garages and workshops lying below.

The load-bearing structure is a skeleton/cross-wall construction with pre-stressed concrete slabs and concrete columns. The large cantilever towards the Talstrasse is achieved by the use of vertical concrete slabs that act as upstand beams positioned between the floor and ceiling slabs. The exterior walls and partition walls are made of pre-fabricated, floor-to-ceiling, insulated wooden elements. A ventilated cladding of horizontal wooden boards forms the exterior layer of weather protection. The various board widths cut in parallel fashion from the tree trunks are mounted according to the sequence of the cut. The roof, analogous to the façades, is made with a ventilated construction in wood, insulation and concrete – a “Davos roof”.

The windows are typically set flush with the cladding. For those windows that should not offer any inward view, rotated cladding boards serve as fixed louvers. The glazed steel doors of the garages, which open outwardly, are covered by the cantilevered parts of the building and thus protected from the snow. Galvanized sheetmetal clads the underside of the cantilevers and reflects a diffuse light into the workspaces lying further back.

Location Davos, Switzerland

Programme Garages, carwash, workshop, storage, offices

Competition 1998, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 1998–1999

Client Davos Tourismus

Team G/G Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects, Zurich
in collaboration with Othmar Brügger, Architect, Davos
Planning/Construction: Christian Brunner (Project Manager)
Competition: Markus Lüscher
Collaborators Othmar Brügger: Andreas Leu

General Contractor Zschokke, Chur

Structural Engineer Conzett, Bronzini, Gartmann AG, Chur
Peter Flütsch, Chur

Signage Trix Wetter, Zurich

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein

Signal Box

The building stands on the edge of the train tracks near the Gottlieb Duttweiler Bridge, at the transition between urban housing and outlying industrial districts.

The structure accommodates functions related to supervising rail traffic in the area preceding Zurich’s main station. Of its three storeys, just the top floor is used for offices and workspaces. The lower floors contain only technical equipment, such as relay processors, transformers, power equipment for the rail system, backup power and ventilation facilities.

Certain areas of the lower floors house individual pieces of equipment which give off large amounts of heat. Other rooms on these floors, however, require a balanced climate meaning that they need to be heated and cooled. To meet these requirements it was necessary to construct a climatic envelope that could both store heat and at the same time be able to sufficiently release the excess heat to the environment. The double layered concrete construction provides the mass needed to store heat. It is insulated to a greater or lesser degree as dictated by the respective area of the interior. The concrete reinforcing bars form a Faraday-like cage in order to protect the sensitive electronics inside the building from exterior disturbances.

The patina-like discolouration caused by the dust produced by the train's brakes is common to all of the objects and buildings near the tracks. This characteristic motivated the decision to integrate the small building into this family of rust-red and brown objects from the beginning. The concrete is coloured with brownish-red iron oxide pigments that have the same chemical basis as the dust from the train's brakes – oxidised particles of iron.

The colours chosen by the artist Harald F. Müller for the built-in wooden elements in the employee spaces are those that he found in the switching station's immediate environs. They are immediately recognisable upon looking out of the window: strong blue, bright red, yellow and, once again, dark brown.

The windows of the control room and workspaces on the top floor provide both supervision and a view over the tracks. The lighting at the computer work stations in the control room is regulated by horizontal blinds and protective glazing. The panes are metallically coated and reflect exterior light and heat.

On the one hand, the brown iron oxide in the concrete integrates, indeed almost camouflages, the building in its iron particle coloured environs. On the other hand, the reddish-gold reflective metal coating on the windows contrasts with the matt quality of the dark concrete. Lit from inside at night and highly reflective during the day, the windows symbolise the function of the building at all times – to monitor the tracks.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme Offices and workspaces, technical equipment such as relays, computers, rotary converters, power equipment for the rail system, a generator room and ventilation facilities

Competition 1996, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 1997–1999

Client Schweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Philippe Vaucher (Project and Construction Manager), Markus Lüscher
Competition: David Leuthold

Structural Engineer Conzett, Bronzini, Gartmann AG, Chur

Signage Harald F. Müller, Öhningen, Germany

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein
© Harald F. Müller

S-Bahn Railway Station, Museum of Transport

The new S-Bahn railway station serves the Swiss Museum of Transport, which means that modern trains offer visitors direct access to the historical locomotives, cars, ships and aeroplanes of the museum.

Built on top of the existing railroad embankment, the train station is elevated above the surrounding terrain. The embankment continues to rise from west to east. For pedestrians, a new belowground passage at Lidostrasse links the two train platforms. Ramps lead up to the platforms at one end and at the end to the east there are temporary stairs.

The platforms are over 200 metres long and each have a covered waiting area, consisting of a conspicuous glass cube that juts out over the edge of the platform.

To facilitate construction and, in particular, to ensure the efficiency of nighttime work, the platforms consist largely of prefabricated elements: concrete floor panels placed on prefabricated columns. Large-format sheets of moulded and perforated steel are multipurpose: first, they are the railing, secondly, a very long bench and thirdly, cladding for the shady space underneath the elevated platforms. People can see in and out, thanks to the large, round perforations, which also make the station look like a floating ribbon that seems to dissolve into thin air at the top. The bends in the steel form a ledge for passengers to lean against and rest not only in the waiting room but along the entire length of the platform. In addition they prevent people from climbing up and over the railing.

Like the platforms above, the ramps and supporting walls of the underpass are made of concrete, while the railings and cladding consist of steel panels, but without bends. To improve passive security, the underpass is illuminated by a metal billboard that advertises the exhibitions at the Museum of Transport.

Location Lucerne, Switzerland

Programme S-Bahn railway-station, 2 station platforms 200 m long, waiting areas, pedestrian underpass

Commission 2006

Planning/Construction 2006–2007

Client Canton Lucerne
Department of Building, Environment, and Economy

Team G/G Caspar Bresch (Team Manager), Mark Ziörjen (Project Manager)

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Safety Barriers: Conzett Bronzini Gartmann AG, Chur
S-Bahn-Haltestelle: Emch+Berger WSB AG, Emmenbrücke

Photos © Lucas Peters