Smiljan Radic

Fondation Beyeler Extension Building. RIEHEN

Smiljan Radic . Fondation Beyeler Extension Building. RIEHEN (1)

Smiljan Radic . + divisare

Our building, built around fragments and omissions, has been painted into the landscape with colours from the work of Picasso. The project will appear as a table with a primitive structure on which a piece of a wooden building has been left abandoned. It is mute and calm, avoiding showmanship.


The proposed site for the new extension of the Beyeler museum is a borderland area between the city and a vast rural landscape with wood buildings scattered around it. It is a landscape of solace.The act of pulling up the houses currently occupying the site, like some bad weeds, will produce a new spatial continuity on the pedestrian level of the area. Our idea is to maintain this continuity on the pedestrian level and, as the architect Renzo Piano did with the Beyeler Foundation Museum, thus create a close relationship with the nature, making it a natural and emotive extension of the interior spaces.The design of the landscape and the building itself unite the two parks through a plaza or hard and thick stone ground that covers the first open level of the building. The idea is to join the domestic nature of the Iselin-Weber Park to the new public space that will be open in Brower Park in front of the new building. The landscaping intervention will reinforce and order what is already there. All the trees will remain and others of the same species will be added, opening up views through the use of fields, in which the Skyspace by James Turrell will be placed. Under the shade of the trees, patches covering the ground and local shrubbery will continue to expand.

The programme has been developed on four floors, reaching a total height of 12 meters above the natural lie of the land and 10 meters below it.

Upper Floor
The open staircase and the lifts will access the large upper floor room, which together with the perimeter balcony form an internal space for interaction along with the natural surroundings. The rural area, the parks and the building by architect Renzo Piano are permanently available from different views while moving around the public levels of the building. The exhibition room thus becomes a unique terrace. It is a large (1.088 m2) and simple space, an open topped container where works of art float within the interior. Its nature avoids the exhibition room becoming a new non-place. Its wooden walls and floor made of walnut wood or similar, its open ceiling between beams of the same material will be a vessel for acoustic and atmospheric calm. Its spatial structure allows clear subdivision and free installation of simple supports, free-standing or hanging panels using the ceiling. The roof is composed of a simple structure of wooden beams measuring 980 x 115 mm, and 1400 mm apart. A grid of parasols made of stainless steel panels, polished on the upper side and painted white underneath, placed between the beams forms part of the natural light control barrier for the room. This system is complemented by double panels of UV free and Low-E safety glass with 20% of dots painted. Profiles of polished aluminium under the wooden beams will give flexibility for simply dividing and lighting the exhibition room. This profile is especially designed to provide rails every 140 cm for lighting and supports for partition panels. The two rails will run alongside one another together with keder for hanging PTFE placket curtains from the ceiling. At the back of the large room, a smaller 160 m2 room has been separated off, and this area can be blacked out and isolated acoustically for use with audio-visual projections or simply as an exhibition room. It can be divided into two areas that can be connected visually with the two surrounding parks.

Ground Floor
The access level is an open space. In it, transparency plays an important role as a physical presence, but more important is the sensation of transparency given by the permeability of the material between the interior and exterior. The visitors will enter and move between the primitive presences of the support elements of the dark grey concrete platform that clearly defines an interior space. But at the same time, the pen views of the surroundings, the mobile windows around the perimeter, the exterior stone pavement that overlaps into the interior and some permanent structures installed inside and outside the building will characterise the spaces in an ambiguous manner. The access hall, cloakroom, ticket area, lifts, public bathrooms, open main stairs leading to the exhibition room on the upper floor and a different staircase leading to the multipur- pose room below will all appear clearly within the space upon first sight, separated from the areas for personnel.

Underground Floor
The multipurpose room and the building services are located on the underground level. The multipurpose room is reached directly from the main access hall by an open stairway in the centre of the floor plan, or directly via the lifts. It has a ruined air, thanks to the deep skylights connecting it to the outside and the staircase connecting it to the hall on the ground floor. Its wooden floor and skirting boards will contain the acoustics and the air conditioning. The services are ordered into two levels, allowing easy separation of the function of the service spaces.

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