The Lenbachhaus Museum in Munich has reopened with new additions by UK architecture giant Foster + Partners.
As well as improving the building’s environmental performance, the remodelling has created a new entrance and social spaces, including a restaurant, terrace, education facilities and a dramatic full-height atrium, where the old is articulated within the new.
Built in 1891 as a studio and villa for the artist Franz von Lenbach, the Lenbachhaus Museum has been gradually extended over the last century.
However, its buildings were in need of renewal and the museum lacked the facilities to cater to a growing audience of 280,000 people a year.
Redefining circulation throughout the site, the project has transformed a complex sequence of spaces of different periods into a unified, legible museum that is accessible and open to all.
Peeling away the unnecessary additions, a 1972 extension has been removed to reveal the wall of the original villa, which has been sympathetically restored in ochre render.
Lord Foster commented: “Our main challenge has been to maintain the same amount of exhibition area, within the museum’s footprint, while creating new circulation and visitor spaces.
“Given the way that the different parts of the museum had evolved, there was no such thing as a typical space – every corner is unique and required individual attention and different design decisions.
He continued: “This has been a fascinating process. Another important aspect of our design has been creating new opportunities for works of art to be exhibited outside the traditional confines of the gallery, such as in the atrium.
“This space develops the idea of the ‘urban room’ – it is the museum’s public and social heart, and point of connection with the wider city.”