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Museum Liner, Switzerland : Appenzell Building

Museum Liner Switzerland – design by Gigon/Guyer

Museum Liner Appenzell


Design: Gigon/Guyer Architekten

The museum building, dedicated to the oeuvre of Appenzell artists Carl August Liner and his son, Carl Walter Liner, belongs to the category of the monographic museum. However, the rooms are not designed to house particular paintings by either of these two artists, but are rather dimensioned to accommodate changing presentations of the work of father and son as well as exhibitions of contemporary art.

The rooms are therefore more general than specific in nature. They are quiet, simple spaces that seek neither to exaggerate nor to compete with the works of art. They show a minimum of detail, have light walls, poured concrete floors, and are illuminated by daylight coming in through windows set in the gabled roof overhead.

The dimensions of the rooms are relatively small to provide a concentrated and focused ambience for the individual paintings. The total exhibition area is divided into ten rooms, each measuring, between 30 and 50 m2 in size. The varying size of the rooms is generated by an asymmetrically places wall running the length of the building as well as intersecting axes that define the spaces in decreasing size from south to north. The alignment of the doorways from room to room may be straight or shifted, allowing visitors to follow a direct or a meandering course through the museum. Two lateral windows offer an outdoor view and facilitate orientation within the building. A small reading room and a room for slide and video presentations are placed at the north end of the building – that is, in the middle of the museum tour. The architectural opener for visitors is the spacious lobby with a counter for tickets and sales. As the first and biggest room in the museum, it also functions as a place for meetings, discussions or lectures.

The illumination of the exhibition spaces with gabled roofs of different heights also defines the zig-zag shape of the building that echoes both the saddle-roofed houses typical of Appenzell and the saw-toothed roofs of industrial and agricultural architecture. The roofs are clad in sandblasted sheets of chrome steel to keep the light reflected in the exhibition spaces as diffuse and undistorted in color as possible. The facades are clad in the same material. The overlapping cladding and its shimmering grey color show a distant resemblance to traditional Appenzell architecture with its shingled facades (and roofs that were once shingled as well) weathered to a silvery grey. The combination of façade and roofing int the same material produces an overall, irregular volume, like a smalll mountain against the background of the Alpstein massif.

Museum Liner Appenzell – Building Information

Site/Address: Museum Liner, Unterrainstrasse 5, CH-9050 Appenzell

Spatial Programme: lobby, 12 exhibition rooms, 2 offices, cloakroom, storage spaces

Commission: Jul 1996
Planning/Execution: Sep 1996 – Sep 1998

Client: Fondation Museum Carl Liner Vater und Sohn Appenzell

Architecture: Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer, Architects, Zurich

Urs Birchmeier (project architect)
Daniel Kaufmann (site manager), Chantal Imoberdorf

Graphic design: Trix Wetter, Zurich

Landscape Architect: Kienast + Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich
Civil Engineer: Aerni + Aerni Dipl. Ing., Zurich
Mechanical Engineer: (Heating,Cooling,Vent.) Waldhauser Haustechnik, St. Gallen
Electrical Engineer: ELKOM Partner AG, Chur
Daylight technology: Institut für Tageslichttechnik, Stuttgart (Germany)
Artificial lighting: Lichtdesign Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Köln (Germany)

Museum Liner Appenzell Switzerland images / information from Gigon/Guyer Architekten


Location: Museum Liner, Unterrainstrasse 5, CH-9050 Appenzell, Switzerland

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Museum Liner Appenzell

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