Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum, St. Gallen
Open Competition, 2009

The design’s four interlocking building volumes lend the Naturmuseum St. Gallen an autonomous and powerful contour that conveys the structure’s public function and enables it to holds its own alongside the vertically domineering church. An expansive external staircase leads visitors to the main entrance, which is elevated from the busy main street and level with the church and botanical gardens. The four interlocking cubes structurally mirror the interiors of the permanent exhibition, the public areas as well as the office spaces and workshops. The geometry as well as the projections and recesses generate differentiated exterior spaces that establish a dialogue with the surroundings.

When visitors enter the two-story lobby, they are immediately drawn into the museum’s interiors. Visual linkages from the cafeteria and the exhibition halls to the basement, ground and upper levels facilitate orientation and a sculptural staircase links the interlocking levels.
Shining like a quartz, the building shell is clad in glass imprinted with motifs and patterns that mirror the collections and exhibitions, serving as a preview for visitors of what they can expect to experience, observe and learn inside.