Neuhaus, Austria


Created for a private art collection, the museum embraces the discrepancy between the quaint, bucolic village chosen as its site and the angst-ridden sensibility of the art it displays. It combines the picturesque and the grotesque. A large regular volume housing the collection is tipped into the ground; one corner submerged and the opposite cantilevered into the air, creating a 7m sectional difference. Meanwhile, the centralized circulation system of the traditional museum is turned inside out. The periphery is defined by a glazed circulation ring that gently ramps to connect a system of stepped galleries. The viewer must continually re-enter the circulation ring or ‘landscape gallery’ to pass between successive galleries of the sequence. Each interruption is a cleansing of the palette, allowing the eye to refresh, look out and see a continuously changing experience of the environmental earthwork. The full route connects the highest point with a wooded view to a nearby river and the lowest point with a view onto exposed earth. One circuit traverses the horizon line twice. The museum’s occupiable roof, the site of a defunct cornfield, hosts a crop of dynamic computer-controlled phototropic skylights. Two hundred-sixty heliostats follow the sun’s movement like sunflowers and respond with a range of motion to shade or reflect light to the galleries below according to desired illumination needs.

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