Kirchner Museum Davos

The main objective of the design was to create exhibition space for the art of E.L. Kirchner which should neither compete with Kirchner’s work nor unduly heighten it.
The four exhibition rooms on the entrance level of the museum have therefore been designed with great restraint. The white walls, the oak parquet flooring and the wall-to-wall glass ceiling form a simple cube, which is comparable in its spatial effect to the exhibition rooms of the turn of the century.

The daylight enters sideways, into the large overhead lighting spaces (skylights). Then it comes from above, through the etched glass ceiling, into the exhibition rooms. (This skylight solution prevents daylight being blocked out by snow - Davos is at a height of 4921 ft.) For use at night the large overhead lighting spaces above the exhibition rooms also contain the entire artificial lighting system.

The space between the cube-shaped exhibition rooms, constructed in fair-faced concrete, forms the entrance hall. Walking through the museum, visitors will keep returning to this hall, from where one has a view of the surrounding park, the road, the landscape and the town of Davos: all of them objects of Kirchner’s painting.

The museum is clad with a glass facade consisting of a variety of transparent, matt and polished glass. The glass-cladding plays and works with the clear, brilliant alpine light. Depending on the different functions of the glass – bringing light into the building and ensuring visibility – its finish differs: clear and mirror-smooth in the entrance hall to allow a view of the exterior, matt in the skylights to diffuse the incoming light, and matt and profiled as a translucent facade cladding to cover the thermal insulation on the concrete walls. A layer of recycled glass fragments on the roof replays the usual gravel, showing the last and transitory ‘finish’ of glass.

The high cubes of the exhibition rooms are located freely within the park between the old trees. At the same time, the layout reflects the settlement structure of Davos town, with its random placement of detached flat-roofed buildings.

Location Davos, Switzerland

Programme 4 exhibition spaces, connecting entrance hall, teaching room, library, conference room, offices, workshops, storage

Competition 1989, 1st Prize

Client Kirchner Stiftung Davos

Gross Floor Area 2‘208 m2

Team G/G Annette Gigon, Mike Guyer, Judith Brändle, Raphael Frei

Structural Engineer Vorprojekt: Aerni + Aerni Ingenieure AG, Zürich
DIAG Davoser Ingenieure AG, Davos

Electrical Engineer K. Frischknecht AG, Chur

Building Services Engineer 3-Plan Haustechnik AG, Winterthur

Lighting Consultant Institut für Tageslichttechnik Stuttgart, Germany

Signage Lars Müller, Baden

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein