Kunst-Depot, Henze & Ketterer Gallery

The Kunst-Depot built for the Henze & Ketterer Gallery is designed to provide storage space for works of art while also functioning as a showroom: a showroom not only for clients who wish to look at a work that is not currently on display in the nearby gallery, but also a space that can be used for the presentation of contemporary art. The two floors above ground allow for all three types of use, although initially mainly the top floor will be used as gallery space.

The plan is not subdivided. It is structured only by the staircase with adjoining sanitary block and kitchen facilities, and also by a central load-bearing service wall. Two windows on the ground floor and two on the top floor allow daylight viewing of the works, as well as providing a view of the surroundings.

To minimize the risk of water damage to the artworks, only air is used for heating and humidity control. And to ensure a stable climate inside the Kunst-Depot, the insulation and mass of the brick-and-concrete load-bearing structure were maximized: even the roof is made of concrete.

Both the roof and façades are clad in ‘Tetra’ metal sheeting, a material commonly used for warehouses. The distinctive look of the building comes from dividing the cladding into two perforated layers. The outer shell is like a curtain wall and functions as a sunscreen. The smooth metal roofing sheets are rectangular, but folded over the edge of the roof at a slant to echo on the façade the irregular, trapezoidal plan of the building.

The plan results from a wish to optimize the space both inside and outside the building within the limits of the bell-shaped plot. The building’s shape responds to the local building code, which calls for a pitched roof and eaves for new buildings located in the historic center of the village to match the imposing style of the traditional surrounding farmhouses.

Location Wichtrach, Switzerland

Programme Exhibition space, art depot, storage rooms

Commission 2002

Planning/Construction 2002–2004

Client Galerie Henze & Ketterer

Gross Floor Area 1‘103 m2

Team G/G Esther Righetti (Project Manager)

Construction Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architects, Zurich
Collaborator: Thomas Hochstrasser

Structural Engineer Aerni + Aerni Ingenieure AG, Zurich

Electrical Engineer Elkom Partner AG, Chur

Building Services Engineer 3-Plan Haustechnik AG, Winterthur

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein

Address Kirchstrasse 26, CH–3114 Wichtrach/Bern