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Foster completes 'jewel box' add-on to Munich's Lenbachhaus Museum

Norman Foster and the Mayor of Munich have officially reopened the Lenbachhaus Museum following a £50 million restoration and extension

The Foster and Partners-designed scheme created a new wing on the historic museum clad in copper-aluminium alloy tubes.

The extension, dubbed the ‘jewel box’, features two floors of gallery space alongside a shop, restaurant, lecture hall, conservation workshop, education centre and cloakroom.

The original 1891 art gallery was restored and remodelled while a 1972 extension was removed to create a new entrance to the building.

The old and new elements of the museum are divided by a top-lit atrium containing ticket and information desks alongside a cantilevered stair providing access to the upper level galleries.

A new lighting scheme, water-based heating and cooling system and rainwater recycling programme was also incldued in the design.

The studio won an international contest for the scheme in 2002.

Architect’s view

Norman Foster, chairman and founder, Foster + Partners

Our main challenge has been to maintain the same amount of exhibition area, within the museum’s footprint, while creating new circulation and visitor spaces. Given the way that the different parts of the museum had evolved, there was no such thing as a typical space - every corner is unique and required individual attention and different design decisions. This has been a fascinating process.

Another important aspect of our design has been creating new opportunities for works of art to be exhibited outside the traditional confines of the gallery, such as in the atrium. This space develops the idea of the ‘urban room’ - it is the museum’s public and social heart, and point of connection with the wider city.

Project data

Client City of Munich, Cultural Department, Building Construction
Appointment 2002
Construction start 2009
Completion 2013
Site area Approx. 4,000m²
Area (gross) 12,328m²
Project cost £50 million (€59 million)
Client City of Munich,Cultural Department and Building Department
Architect Foster + Partners
Project management DU Diederichs Projektmanagement
Structural engineer Sailer Stepan & Partner GmbH
Mechanical engineer Ingenieurbüro Robert Ottitsch (HLS + RLT) PEG GmbH (Elektro)
Quantity surveyor CBP Cronauer
Cost consultant Höhler + Partner
Landscaping Burger Landschaftsarchitekten
Lighting design Ingenieurbüro Bamberger

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