The National Museum in Zurich
Old Building – Renovation – Extension
The National Museum in Zurich, founded in 1898, was the largest museum of cultural history in Switzerland. The Federal Council envisaged the purpose of the museum as the ”embodiment of national consciousness”. The architect Gustav Gull was entrusted with the building assignment. He created a - for Switzerland - new type of building, a kind of architecture parlante, in which he represented the diversity of Switzerland but also reflected on the exterior what was contained within the building. The National Museum was never substantially renovated or extended after it was built. So in the year 2000, the federal authorities launched an international competion for the renovation and extension of the museum buildings which was won by the architectural office of Christ & Gantenbein. Their project is clearly influenced by Gull’s building in many ways, which allowed them to preserve its identity while creating a powerfully independent structure with their new building.