The museum is located on one of the most prominent squares in Vienna. Unfortunately it is also one of urbanistically most problematic places in Vienna. The location of the newly planned extension of the “Wien Museum” is a great opportunity to improve the spatial qualities of “Karlsplatz”.
The wonderful St. Charles’ Church is for sure one of the highlights of the square and Vienna in general. Urbanistically the church is the focal point of the square, which has a good effect on it but the surrounding structures don’t really accompany this idea well.
A building like St. Charles’ Church requires symmetry surrounding it to present itself even better. This inconsistency in urban planning is always present on the square and it gets more and more clear when you start to spend some time on the square. The current landscaping of the square just adds up to the inconsistency and is therefore also a part of the problem.
The “Wien Museum” extension is the solution to this problematic urban situation. It emphasizes the spatial qualities of “Karlsplatz” and invites visitors to the square. The St. Charles’ Church still stays as the focal point of the square and the urban axis are defined through its position and symmetry. The new extension restores the symmetry of the square.
There were three important elements that effected the form of the new building: firstly the central church axis was taken as the mirroring axis for the alignment lines of the TU Wien building, secondly the continuation of the Canovagasse axis in order to keep the view of the St. Charles’ Church, and finally the border with the Ringstrasse. The new building would house all the necessary exhibition spaces while the old building would be mostly used for the functions closed for public.
The ground floor serves as the main museum entrance and transition space between the two exhibition spaces – the temporary exhibition spaces in the upper floors and the museum collection exhibition in the underground level. The ground floor also serves as the connection between Karlsplatz and the new space between the old Wien Musuem building and the extension.
Since the main topic of the Wien Museum is the city of Vienna and its rich history the building itself forms a promenade for the visitors of Karlsplatz which leads them all the way to the roof of the new building. This provides the visitors with a new experience of the St. Charles’ Church, Karlsplatz and whole Vienna.
The sloped roof could also be used for different events that take place on Karlsplatz during the warmer months of the year. The competition attracted 274 offices from 26 countries, under which there were many well known offices like Foster + Partners, J.H. Mayer, Snøhetta, Zaha Hadid Architects, Sou Fujimoto, Kengo Kuma and many more. Source by Andrea Vattovani Architecture.
Location: Vienna, Austria
Architects: AVA – Andrea Vattovani Architecture
Project Architect: Andrea Vattovani
Project Leaders: Igor Kolonic, Mario Keusch
Client: Wien Museum Projekt Gmbh
Renderings: Iddqd Studio
Images: Courtesy of Andrea Vattovani Architecture