Michael Meier und Marius Hug / Armon Semadeni
Naturmuseum St. Gallen
best architects 18
St. Gallen / Switzerland
The new Natural History Museum in St. Gallen expands the existing ensemble of public buildings and facilities surrounding the church of St. Maria Neudorf and the botanical gardens on the eastern edge of the city centre. The museum building’s placement and its stone exterior give it a high profile as an urban landmark in the context of the streetscape and church complex. At the same time, the new museum respects the strong presence of the church’s silhouette. The visible structure of the museum roof relates to the functional look of the buildings in the botanical gardens. The volume takes up almost the entire plot. Four precisely set cut-outs at its corners interlock it with its surroundings and reinforce the existing features of the site. Each recess accommodates a specific function, such as a quiet terrace for the café, an imposing forecourt on the street side and a discreet delivery zone at the rear. The interior is organised as an open sequence of spaces. Exhibition visitor follow a predefined circuit over two levels, passing by the temporary exhibition area to arrive in the »relief room«. This is the heart of the two exhibition floors and offers opportunities to present larger exhibits. The second floor of the exhibition space features a vast column-free skylit hall that allows for flexible exhibition concepts.