Beyeler Foundation Museum

  • Caption
    View of Exterior
Related person
Renzo Piano (architect)
1997 (museum creation);1997 (after construction lengthened by 12 metres)
"As was the case with the Menil Collection, the art patron and collector Ernst Beyeler wanted to build a museum to house his art collection, and make it accessible to the general public. Mr. Beyeler had a very precise vision of how his project should take shape. Primarily, he wanted the museum to be totally integrated into nature, amidst the trees of the once-private park in Switzerland surrounding Villa Berower, a historic monument. From the general plan, the Beyeler foundation consists of four bearing walls of equal length, running parallel to the wall enclosing the site; and the exhibit spaces are arranged in straight rows in relation to the resulting space. From a cross-sectional view, however, the project becomes much more dynamic. The easternmost wall gradually tapers off, guiding the visitors toward the entrance. Mr. Beyeler had another requirement: zenithal light. To that end, the museum is covered by a transparent sloping roof. From a certain vantage point, the roof seems separate from the building. It is held up by a simple metal structure. Its support system is virtually invisible from inside the exhibit spaces lending the building an overall sense of lightness, which contrasts with the rocky surfaces of the walls. The walls, including the enclosing walls outside, are all covered with stones that resemble the red sandstone found in the Basel area, but come from Argentina. Unlike local rocks, they are more weather resistant and require less maintenance. A glass partition separates the west facade from a long, narrow garden: the park, the trees and the lake seem to enter into the museum. The interior and the exterior seem in perfect balance: a sense of calm reigns over the entire site."
1990s (1990 - 1999)