Graber Pulver Architekten: Musée d'ethnographie de Genève - best architects 16 in Gold

Graber Pulver Architekten

Musée d'ethnographie de Genève

best architects 16 in Gold

public buildings


Genève / Switzerland


Leo Fabrizio


In order to accommodate the complex spatial programme for an ethnographic museum within the dense urban context, the exhibition halls were shifted underground, as a »black box«. Thanks to the storey-high beams carrying the floor above, the exhibition galleries could be combined into a single column-free hall. The building’s pointed gable roof with its tent-like cross section, which houses the library, and the ratio of wall mass to deeply cut window openings, generate a rarefied air ideally befitting the contents. In front of the museum on the ground-floor level, space was freed up for a small piazza. With its striking geometry, the above-ground section of the new museum asserts an iconographic presence in the urban context. Anodised aluminium sheet metal cladding envelops the entire building like a carpet, its finely polished surface glistening in the sunlight and lending the building a dazzling plasticity. With a silhouette exhibiting calligraphic precision and the carefully orchestrated materials of its façade, the building ensures the museum a strong identity while evoking associations with exotic cultural artefacts, with pagodas, helmets and coffers. Just from looking at the museum building, one already has an inkling of the treasures within.