sauerbruch hutton has unveiled the new M9 museum in mestre, venice, as part of a major urban renewal project and designboom were invited to visit the new building and hear firsthand from the architects matthias sauerbruch and louisa hutton. the berlin based architects won the competition for their design in 2010 with a scheme that focused on regeneration of the district. the main concept creates a diagonal passage through the site, providing a connection to the city and a dialogue between old and new.

sauerbruch hutton reveals new m9 museum as part of urban renewal project in mestre

all images © designboom, except main image © alessandra chemollo and diagrams © M9



funded by fondazione di venezia, who invested a total of €110 million, the new M9 museum is characterized by the brightly colored ceramic tiles used on the façade which aim to reinterpret the vivid reds and oranges typically found on buildings in the city. the architect, matthias sauerbruch, remarked that they ‘deliberately tried to make an architectural material palette that is very tactile, that is somehow interesting to the touch.’ exposed concrete is used considerably and is particularly impressive in the large stairwells. the textured concrete has been purposely chosen as it provides a touchable aspect that is in direct contrast to the technological nature of the project. the use of laminated wood in parts of the interior also evokes a feeling of warmth and by using timber details throughout, such as handrails, the different materials complement one another successfully.

sauerbruch hutton reveals new m9 museum as part of urban renewal project in mestre

the main stairwell using exposed concrete and laminated timber details



matthias sauerbruch also commented that there are ‘different light conditions which are very much part of the architectural concept.’ the temporary exhibition space on the top floor utilises a saw-tooth roof profile to benefit from north light providing what sauerbruch described as ‘very beautiful light conditions.’ large windows are also used to gain daylight into circulation spaces and offer views over mestre. on the top floor there is also a terrace that allows visitors to look out over the city, ensuring a connection to the surroundings is always felt.

sauerbruch hutton reveals new m9 museum as part of urban renewal project in mestre

the colored façade and saw-tooth roof



from the main entrance of the museum, you arrive into the atrium and circulation space. on the ground level you can also find the large auditorium which steps down into a lower ground level. the second floor is home to the permanent ‘novecento’ exhibition, detailing italian culture and history through the 20th century. as mentioned, the top floor contains the temporary exhibition which is designed for both a national and international audience and hopes to illuminate topical subjects.

sauerbruch hutton reveals new m9 museum as part of urban renewal project in mestre

the temporary exhibition space on the top floor



the use of technology is another key feature of the overall design. in the permanent ‘novecento’ exhibition, there are numerous interactive installations and digital touch displays which bring the black box space to life. outside of the museum, the public areas also incorporate innovations which aim to transform mestre into a ‘smart city’, such as intelligent benches, interactive totems and shared electronic bikes. sauerbruch explained that they ‘cut the overall volumes of the program into two’ and there is a ‘smaller building that houses all the delivery and services for the museum.’ as part of the regeneration, an existing covent that was in ‘relatively bad shape’ has been renovated as retail and office space. new windows, floors and cloister cover have been implemented to transform it into a centre for culture.

sauerbruch hutton reveals new m9 museum as part of urban renewal project in mestre

the renovated convent with new windows and cloister cover



by considering this project not only for tourists, but also as a centre for local residents, sauerbruch hutton’s design breathes new life into mestre. from the museum itself, which achieved the LEED gold certification for sustainable construction, to the new retail spaces and ‘smart city’ implementations, the M9 museum district creates a cultural and creative centre to, as louisa hutton commented, ‘bring a lot of young energy to this area.’

sauerbruch hutton reveals new M9 museum as part of urban renewal project in mestre

the new cloister cover over the restored convent, image © M9