Kunsthalle Zurich refurbishment by Gigon/Guyer Architects and Atelier WW

Kunsthalle Zurich refurbishment by Gigon/Guyer Architects and Atelier WW

Twenty-seven years of house-hunting has finally paid off for the Zurich’s Kunsthalle, the contemporary art museum that nurtures emerging talents from across Europe, then welcomes them back after they find success.

Now the Kunsthalle has reopened permanently in a repurposed space within the Löwenbräu art complex, where it has been squatting for a decade and a half. Swiss firms Gigon/Guyer Architects and Atelier WW collaborated on the refurbishment, crowning the 19th-century former brewery with a thick beer foam-like white-concrete arcade that slices across the top from one vantage point and slides down in the rear to form its own four-storey structure.

Inside, the design team added an intermediate floor to the cavernous, old industrial building, fitted vast windows, reinvented the foyer and built corridors that smooth the transition between the old wing and new. The concrete addition hosts light-infused exhibition spaces, an event hall and a rooftop lounge for rendezvous between the art patrons who frequent this reinvigorated corner of post-industrial Zurich.

The Kunsthalle will share space in the original wing with other, less established galleries, as well as the avant garde Migros art museum, a bookshop and café, all of which launch anew this week. Still, the Kunsthalle’s inaugural exhibition will be the centrepiece: an unpacking of recent travel photos by Wolfgang Tillmans, the Turner prize winning German photographer who held his first museum show at the museum’s now-defunct location in 1995. Joining the opening bill will be the young British sculptor Helen Marten, also with new work on hand.

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