The development concept for the Museum of Transportation in Lucerne takes as its point of departure an urbanistic configuration that already exists in the southern part of the complex: the addition of solitary, thematic buildings. In the future urbanistic layout the individual building volumes are to be linked on various levels by gangways, bridges and ramps. Thus, a “central” outdoor space will gradually develop between the buildings that is articulated and zoned through the position of the buildings and the gangways. The additive principal enables visitors to easily find the individual thematic areas, and allows a simple, phased realization of the future building projects as well as a stylistic plurality among the buildings. The latter is sought instead of attempting to lay down an obligatory, unified design strategy for future generations.
The first building phase, the "Street Forum", involves a new building placed on the eastern edge of the complex. It bounds the exterior space here that currently drifts off into the adjacent housing quarter void of any tension. The theme of riding, of "moving on wheels" is picked up architecturally by means of circulation ramps that allow the building to be accessed on various levels without any stairs. Two bridges connect the building with the Maritime Hall and the Rail Traffic Hall. In addition, a "transverse gangway" will lead from the entrance area to the "Street Forum" in a future development phase.
The exhibition zones are arranged upon three levels. They are divided into areas that are lit with daylight along the façades and areas located in the center of the building lit artificially. Electrically-controlled sun shading blinds made with fabrics (as in the roofs of convertible cars) or plastic tarps (such as cover trucks) regulate the light and heat gain levels of the building during the day.
The load-bearing structure mirrors the usage arrangement: slanted steel-concrete composite columns form the outer support structure and stiffen the building along its exterior envelope. The filigree statics of the bridges and ramps, which "ride" about and dock with the building, also characterize the building's façade. Concrete wall panels plus a stair and elevator core—whose placement can be freely chosen—take over the load-bearing function within the building. With a thickness of 40 to 45 centimeters the ceilings are able to accommodate ventilation ductwork, allowing one to forgo the use of suspended ceiling elements.
The materials are those found in rough construction. Concrete floors and ceilings as well as the steel support structure remind one of industrial buildings as well as street and bridge construction. The large-scale glazing of the façades nevertheless goes beyond the "garage-like" atmosphere to communicate an ambience of presentation—similar to that of an automobile showroom.