The new building of the Abegg Foundation, a renowned textile museum in Switzerland, serves as an extension to the existing exhibition space and has been carried out according to specifications of the latest museum technology.
One of OAP’s challenges has been to design a museum for exhibition pieces which, by modern conservation standards, may not be exposed to daylight. In addition to the functional requirements, particularly in the area of lighting and building climate, the architects aimed to achieve an architectural expression that complements the volumetric of the existing buildings and incorporates it into the landscape of the Bernese Alps.
The repeatedly occurring, bare sedimentary rock in the surrounding countryside was an inspiration to OAP. From the consideration of these impressive geological features, a so-called ‘landscraper’ arose — a building that is part of the landscape, and a landscape that is part of the building.
For the masonry façade OAP chose a regionally occurring travertine stone as a self-supporting outer element. The sturdy stone is — not only symbolically — the protective sheath of its precious contents. The special structure of the limestone is formed by embedded and decaying vegetable matter, which produces a diverse porosity.
The lively three-dimensional character of the façade is achieved by building cut stone masonry not flush, but bricked at different depths in a deliberately random pattern. The roughness of the stone emphasizes the physicality and the basic appearance of the three building blocks. The material of the façade gives a fascinating play of light that unfolds differently during the day and different seasons. In the area where the concise window openings have been set into the façade, a transition from rough stone to the fine chrome steel frame takes place.
The masonry is closed above with a cover made of Giallo d'Istria limestone.