The Rhaetian Railway leased the renowned Villa Planta since 1919 to the Canton Graubünden for cultural purposes. 1957 the property was finally acquired by the Canton Graubünden. Over the years Villa Planta didn’t supply sufficient space for Chur’s museum of fine arts continually growing collection. Therefore, the demand for an extension building became increasingly acute. In 2011 Barcelona based architecture firm Estudio Barozzi/Veiga won the international architectural design competition to build the new building.
The clarity with which this proposal fitted into the existing architectural environment made it particularly convincing.
The character of the new building is not that of a solitary landmark, entering instead into a dialogue with Villa Planta. Two buildings side by side conjoin to make a museum. The magnitude of the rooms is suited to the collection and, for temporary exhibitions, the open spatial structure is felicitous from a functional angle as well, allowing the necessary concentration on art at the building’s core.
According to the architect the project absorbs and transforms the Palladian order and the Orientalist style, the main compositional features of the Villa Planta, through a central and symmetric composition scheme which gives the extension a clear formal autonomy as well as allowing the proposal to preserve the identity of the villa itself.
Photos by Simon Menges.