You see art, not technology
Oct 9, 2015

With the new build and the added storeys for the Vorarlberg Museum in Bregenz Cukrowicz Nachbaur Architekten have created a quite special street block with frontage boasting irregular windows and little blossoms made of concrete that all contrast sharply with the classicist exterior of the old building. The architects really prioritized the inside and outside detailing, choosing, for example, for the heavy museum doors, Simonswerk’s “Tectus” robust door hinge system.

The State Museum of Art and Cultural History is in the immediate vicinity of Lake Constance and was designed back in 1905 by Georg Baumeister. Given the constantly growing collection, in 2009 the museum commissioned local architects Cukrowicz Nachbaur Architekten with creating an extension for it. The team came up with a five-storey, polygonal new build with a striking, angled southwest facade; the old building, a heritage site, had two storeys added to it and was integrated into the new one. The new build opened in 2013 and provides a total of 2,400 square meters of exhibition space and thus ample room to display items from the collections.
At second glance, the strictly snow-white concrete façade proves to be lightened by a special design detail: Manfred Alois Mayr, an artist from northern Italy, has sprinkled it with small concrete blossoms made in concrete. On entering the building, visitors step into a spacious atrium with a foyer and an adjacent cafeteria; the administration is on the first floor and thze three floors above house the exhibitions. The architects opted for open ground plans with expansive zones that interlink fluidly. Flat monochrome surfaces, wide corridors and discrete ceiling lighting ensure nothing detracts from the exhibits. The choice of white and brown surfaces is consistent throughout, down to the smallest details: For example, the architects had the large inside and outer doors, which are clad in brass, mounted using Simonswerk’s “Tectus TE 640” hinge system, which boast a bronze colored finish.

The hinge system can easily handle a weight of as much as 200 kilos and thus are ideal for heavy functional doors precisely in museums, as these are highly frequented which puts great wear on fittings. Moreover, the hinges open out as far as 180 degrees, a key aspect as the doors when opened must not jut out into the hall and thus disturb the view of the exhibits. That said, the sheer strength of the “Tectus” system remains concealed: Both the technology and the milling is tucked away completely behind the closed hinge surround and there is nothing to catch the eye in the museum – other than the showcases.


More space for art: The architects added two storeys to the old building of the Vorarlberg Museum and extended it with a new building with five storeys. An beautiful detail of the new south west façade: An ornament of flowers made of concrete.
Photo © Hertha Hurnaus

The architects realized an open room-design with ample, confluent zones. This helps the visitor to get a quick orientation inside. Photo © Hertha Hurnaus

A building with special needings: The doors of the museum are very massive, are frequented very often – due to many visitors – and need hinge systems for doors with an opening angle of 180 degrees. Photo © Hertha Hurnaus

“Tectus” hinges from Simonswerk withstands weights up to 300 kilogram and fit also optical perfectly into the monochrome design of doors and walls – with a polished brassed surface. Photo © Hertha Hurnaus