muzeum susch: former brewery and monastery to be transformed into underground art space

muzeum susch: former brewery and monastery to be transformed into underground art space

more details have been announced regarding a new contemporary art museum currently under construction in switzerland. situated in a remote town in the engadin valley of the swiss alps, muzeum susch will occupy a former brewery and rural monastery once it opens to the public in early 2019. the new institution was founded by grażyna kulczyk, a polish entrepreneur who has been a long-term supporter of the arts.

exhibition space will be located within a former brewery
(above video) by AESOP where the founder and design team offer a glimpse inside the art museum



to realize the complex project, kulczyk commissioned architects chasper schmidlin and lukas voellmy to restore and expand the three buildings: the bieraria (brewery) and bieraria veglia which, interconnected, will host exhibition space, office headquarters, and a restaurant; and chasa della santa which will contain the artists’ residence. the challenge for the architects has been to unite these structures visually as well as physically.

the brewery’s original cooling tower has been extended to a total of 17 meters in height



the first stage of the project involved over a year of excavation, shifting 9,000 tons of local rock before construction could begin. an underground passageway will lead visitors from the bieraria veglia, underneath the road, in to the bieraria opposite. one of the first encounters inside the museum is with the natural mountain rock grotto, which was historically used for the cooling and storage of beer. this space will eventually form a gallery for site-specific artist commissions.

one of the first encounters inside the museum is with the natural mountain rock grotto



over 700 square meters of additional floor space have been created inside the old brewery building which will comprise a total of 1,500 square meters of exhibition space. meanwhile, the brewery’s original cooling tower has been extended by four meters into the ground to a total of 17 meters in height. the museum will be defined by a series of permanent, site-specific installations by international contemporary artists, which directly engage with the site.

site plan (click for larger version)



‘the excavated rock fragments from the building expansion have been repurposed to create the polished terrazzo flooring of the galleries, mixed with sand from the bed of the flüela pass river which runs through susch,’ explains chasper schmidlin and lukas voellmy. ‘in other rooms, wood sourced from local surrounding forests is used for flooring and wood wall-panelled cloakrooms.’

section (click for larger version)



as part of the project, the architects developed a proposal for the landscaping around the structures of the museum that seeks to restore and consolidate the historic properties of the site. a special intervention is being integrated into the exterior stone walls by landscape architect, günther vogt, which references the idea of a library built into the stones.

historic site plan from 1896 (click for larger version)



‘it was important to me to work with architects who had knowledge of the area, and understanding of its unique features when intervening into the structure,’ says grazyṅa kulczyk. ‘chasper’s family heritage is from the engadin, and lukas too has been a visitor to susch for many years, so I was confident they would respect the character of the place. through the process we have developed a relationship with the building, uncovering parts of its history which have informed the project brief. muzeum susch is intended to be a place of contemplation and challenge to accepted ideas, a museum that is like no other.’

historic section from 1896 (click for larger version)



muzeum susch’s inaugural exhibition will be curated by kasia redzisz, senior curator, TATE liverpool, devoted to ‘the notion of womanhood and challenging representations of the female body in the art historical canon’. the museum will open on january 2, 2019.

historic section from 1896 (click for larger version)



project info:


project lead: chasper schmidlin & lukas voellmy
team: andrea steiger, pascal schneuwly, nadinka guscetti, sandra sánchez gañete, lisa mäder, henrik månsson, larissa müllner, amelie mai nguyen
civil engineer: jon andrea könz s.c.r.l. ing. dipl. ETH SIA
light consultant: ch keller design AG
electro engineering: capaul engineering AG
HVAC engineering: kalberer + partner AG
geologist: sieber cassina + handke AG

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