Swiss Museum of Transport – Road Transport Hall

The concept for the new Road Transport Hall differs from the first design during the 1999 competition. Originally conceived as a three-story building with concrete shear walls, a load-bearing, glazed façade construction, and bridge-like ramps on the exterior, the new building is to have two stories, be more economical, and in particular offer greater flexibility. It is an exhibition building that in its rudimentary simplicity and as “dark-gray black box” is reminiscent of those buildings countrywide that are designed for the storage and housing of cars, i.e. multi-level parking garages and automobile repair shops. An automated parking system is employed here; a shelf-like structure operated by a mechanical lift displays the collection of cars densely positioned one above the other and out of reach. At the touch of a button, visitors can move one of the cars forward to look at it close up. The open areas on the first two levels provide space for running temporary theme-based exhibitions. A workshop shows the visitors how the vehicles are maintained and repaired.

The façade cladding of the mainly closed building volume is composed of sheet metal in differing formats and colors. Instead of standard façade sheeting, however, or metal from car bodies (as envisaged during the preliminary project), sheet-metal traffic signs have been recycled here: highway signs, guidance and information signs, warning signs, marker signs, and place-name signs. The signboard walls, which spatially delimit the Road Transport Hall, indirectly refer to the great freedom of mobility afforded by private transport, which is directed and regulated with the help of such boards. Furthermore, they also refer to numerous locations near and far that might be the home towns and cities of the visitors, who arrive via diverse traffic routes and using different modes of transport in order to discover more about the subject here. On the rear façade, toward  the neighboring buildings, the signs are reverse-mounted, which means that the printed side faces the building while the untreated, metal side faces outward. Thus, the neighbors see these boards just as road users would see the signs meant for the oncoming traffic – from the back.

Location Lucerne, Switzerland

Programme Exhibition building for cars, motorcycles, lorries and bicylces; Facade cladding composed of traffic signboards, placename and instructional signage

Competition 1999, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2005–2009

Client Swiss Museum of Transport, Lucerne

Gross Floor Area 3'372 m2

Team G/G Caspar Bresch (Team and Project Manager), Mark Ziörjen, Damien Andenmatten, Gaby Kägi, Gilbert Isermann

Total Contractor Karl Steiner AG, Lucerne

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Henauer Gugler AG, Lucerne

Electrical Engineer Scherler AG, Lucerne

Building Services Engineer Wirthensohn AG, Lucerne

Exhibition Design Consultants: Lars Müller, Baden and Peter Regli, Zurich

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein

Address Lidostrasse 5, CH–6006 Lucerne, Switzerland

Awards Auszeichnung guter Baukultur Kanton Luzern 2005–2016, Anerkennung