39 Architects in First Stage of 'Zukunft Kunstmuseum Bern' Competition
10. January 2023
At left is the Kunstmuseum Bern's original 1879 building designed by Eugen Stettler, while at right is the addition from 1983 designed by Atelier 5 that will be replaced as part of the museum project. (Photo: Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia Commons)
Last month the Kunstmuseum Bern, one of Switzerland's oldest museums, revealed the 39 architectural teams selected for the two-stage competition to reimagine the "Museum of Fine Arts Bern of the Future."
The "Zukunft Kunstmuseum Bern" project, whose goal is "to prepare the Kunstmuseum of the Canton of Bern for the future," began in July of last year with an open call for submissions in a prequalification round. Nearly 150 architects/teams from around the world submitted expressions of interest in September, followed last month by the selection of the 39 teams for the first stage of the two-stage competition.
About two-dozen of the teams are from Switzerland, including names both familiar/established and lesser-known/up-and-coming. Notable names from outside Switzerland include Alvaro Siza Viera, Bjarke Ingels Group, Caruso St. John Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Sou Fujimoto Architects, Stanton Williams, and Tony Fretton Architects. Two notable names not on the list are Annabelle Selldorf and Peter Zumthor, both of whom are serving on the "expert jury."
The impetus for the project is the urgent need for a "comprehensive renovation" of the museum's 1983 addition designed by Atelier 5 to address mechanical, lighting, structural, and other issues. The museum contends that "even after a renovation, the Atelier 5 building would no longer meet up to current expectations of a museum," leading them to conclude: "A new building is the only way for the Kunstmuseum to fulfill its mandate of protecting, caring for and educating the public about the first-rate cultural assets entrusted to it and to evolve in a forward-looking way as the canton’s cultural beacon."
The new building will replace the 1983 building immediately next to the museum's 1879 original designed by Eugen Stettler. Although Kunstmuseum Bern will not be renovating the Atelier 5 building as part of its plans, the museum is already labeling its new facilities a "sustainable Museum," because it will purportedly embrace sustainability in other terms: "by optimizing its costs over the course of the building’s lifecycle and making a positive contribution to the region’s economy." (Readers who want more depth on the competition background and what the museum envisions for its future should consult the lengthy FAQ on the project's website.)
Moving forward, the first stage of the competition will take place until the spring, after which "the contributions deemed most suitable by the jury will then be developed into detailed project proposals during Stage 2." The final judging will take place at the beginning of 2024, about a year from now. Construction of the new replacement building and the renovation of the Stettler Building would start around 2027 with a target opening of the renovated Museum of Fine Arts Bern in 2030.
Nothing is guaranteed, though, considering that this is not the first time the museum has tried to renovated its facilities: It failed on three previous attempts that were blocked by UNESCO as part of the approvals process (the Old City of Bern is on the World Heritage List). "Lessons have been learned from those past mistakes," the museum says, so it is optimistic about the project now in its early stages.
- AEBI & VINCENT ARCHITEKTEN, BERN, CH
- AFF ARCHITECTS + BRUNO FIORETTI MARQQUEZ, LAUSANNE, CH | BERLIN, DE
- ALVARO SIZA VIERA + ALTHAUS ARCHITEKTEN +, PORTO, PT | BERN, CH
- ANNETTE GIGON / MIKE GUYER, ZÜRICH, CH
- ARCHITECTURE CLUB, BASEL, CH
- ATELIER SCHEIDEGGER KELLER, ZÜRICH, CH
- ATELIERGEMEINSCHAFT PATRICK THURSTON & ROLF MÜHLETHALER, BERN, CH
- BÃRAO-HUTTER, ST. GALLEN, CH
- BJARKE INGELS GROUP, COPENHAGEN, DK
- BOLTSHAUSER ARCHITEKTEN, ZÜRICH, CH
- BUCHNER BRÜNDLER ARCHITEKTEN, BASEL, CH
- BUOL + ZÜND ARCHITEKTEN, BASEL, CH
- BURKARD MEYER + JABORNEGG PÁLFFY, BADEN, CH | WIEN, AT
- BÜRO B + THAM & VIDEGÅRD, BERN, CH | STOCKHOLM, SE
- CARLANA MEZZARLIRA PENTIMALLI, TREVISO, IT
- CARUSO ST. JOHN ARCHITECTS, ZÜRICH, CH
- CIVIC ARCHITECTS, AMSTERDAM, NL
- CONEN SIGL ARCHITEKT:INNEN, ZÜRICH, CH
- DIENER & DIENER, BASEL, CH
- DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO, NEW YORK, US
- EDELAAR MOSAYEBI INDERBITZIN ARCHITEKTEN, ZÜRICH, CH
- EM2N, ZÜRICH, CH
- FRES ARCHITECTES LAB, GENEVA, CH
- GRABER PULVER ARCHITEKTEN, ZÜRICH/BERN, CH
- KUEHN MALVEZZI PROJECTS, BERLIN, DE
- LANDO ROSSMAIER ARCHITEKTINNEN, ENNENDA, CH
- LUNDGAARD & TRANBERG ARKITEKTER, COPENHAGEN, DK
- LÜTJENS PADMANABHAN ARCHITEKTEN + JOHNSTON MARKLEE + WT PARTNER, ZÜRICH, CH | LOS ANGELES, US
- MAX DUDLER ARCHITEKTEN, ZÜRICH, CH
- MEILI, PETER & PARTNER ARCHITEKTEN, ZÜRICH, CH
- MIDERI ARCHITEKTEN, BASEL, CH
- PARK + PHILIP URSPRUNG + JAEGER BAUMANAGEMENT, ZÜRICH, CH
- SCHMIDLIN ARCHITEKTEN, ZÜRICH, CH
- SOU FUJIMOTO ARCHITECTS + PROPLANING, PARIS, FR | BASEL, CH
- STANTON WILLIAMS + G.M. ARCHITECTES, LONDON, UK | GENEVA, CH
- STUDIO ANNE HOLTROP, AMSTERDAM, NL
- STÜRM WOLF ARCHITECTS + FSM ARCHITEKTEN, ZÜRICH, CH
- SUBLIMINAL OPERATIONS, BERLIN, DE
- TONY FRETTON ARCHITECTS + BLÄTTLER DAFFLON ARCHITEKTEN, LONDON, UK | ZÜRICH, CH