Kunsthaus Zürich

Kunsthaus Extension

‘The New Kunsthaus. Great Art and Architecture.’ An exhibition on the expansion of the Kunsthaus Zürich.

Until to 6 January 2013, the Kunsthaus Zürich is staging a new exhibition revealing what will be on offer to visitors from 2017 in the new extension designed by David Chipperfield Architects.

Founding of Voting Committee

A few days after determining the date of voting (November 25th, 2012) an independent, non-partisan voting committee was formed to promote the Kunsthaus Extension Project.  More than 160 people from political, civic, economic and cultural circles support this seminal undertaking and have launched its own website:

Public design plan adopted

The public design plan for the Kunsthaus extension project was adopted by a two-thirds majority.

City Parliament approves
With a large majority (79:41) on July 4th Zürich's City Parliament has approved the drafts (financing and design plan) for the extension of the Kunsthaus.

Pre-consulting commission approves

The pre-consulting commission of the City Parliament has approved the city's contribution for the extension of the Kunsthaus. The corresponding decision of the building commission with regard to the design plan was already made two weeks ago.

The Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection comes to the Kunsthaus Zürich

On 28 May 2012 the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft signed an agreement with the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection setting out the terms under which some 190 paintings and sculptures are to be made available on long-term loan to the Kunsthaus Zürich. The internationally renowned collection of the industrialist Emil Bührle (1890-1956) is to be exhibited from 2017 in the extension to the Kunsthaus Zürich. This will enable the Kunsthaus to stage the largest assembly of French Impressionist painting in Europe, outside Paris. The new agreement between the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection and the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft replaces the agreement in principle drawn up in February 2006 and sets the seal on the intent, declared by the parties at the time, to make the artworks from the Bührle Collection accessible to the public at large in the newly expanded Kunsthaus. In addition to the participatory building credits and subsidies funding the initial expenses, the related income and costs are included in the subsidy requests to the Zurich City Parliament for the Kunsthaus extension project that will be discussed in July 2012.

Kunsthaus Zürich joins forces with Fondation Hubert Looser
An outstanding private collection of modern and contemporary art is coming to the Kunsthaus Zürich, thanks to a new agreement with the Fondation Hubert Looser. Focusing on Abstract Expressionism, Minimal Art and Arte Povera, 70 works will be exhibited in the Kunsthaus extension on long-term loan from 2017, and will ideally complement the museum’s own holdings. The Looser Collection is the product of an approach that abjures modish trends, choosing instead to foster dialogues and productive tensions and, in so doing, to enable encounters with art that are replete with new experiences and revelations. This is perfectly in tune with the Kunsthaus Zürich’s aim once the extension by David Chipperfield Architects: a dynamic presentation featuring annually changing constellations of works from the Kunsthaus and Looser collections together with thought-provoking juxtapositions of differing genres and formats.

City contribution and layout plan of the Kunsthaus Extension

The city council is filing an application with the municipal council for approval by the voting population requesting an investment contribution of 88 million francs and participation in the covering of  non-recurring pre-production costs for the expansion project of 5 million francs. The city council requests a future annual increase of 7,5 million francs in city contributions in order to cover the running costs of the Kunsthaus as of 2017 and to maintain the new addition. Concurrently the city council submits the public layout plan for the building site to the municipal council for deliberation and decision.

The cantonal council approves 30 million and the land parcel

The canton of Zurich supports the extension of the Kunsthaus with 30 million francs. With 154 votes against one, the cantonal parliament has approved the contribution from the lottery fund to the Stiftung Zürcher Kunsthaus. It also provides the necessary building site valued at 15 million Swiss francs available on a leasehold basis for a term of 80 years.

Preliminary design project approved. Vote in 2012. Opening in 2017
The preliminary design project for the extension to the Kunsthaus Zürich is now complete. The design by David Chipperfield’s team of architects has assumed its definitive form. The timetable provides for the electorate to vote on the project in 2012, with the Kunsthaus extension opening in 2017. It will create space for a dynamic, regularly changing presentation of the collection of post-1960 art, attractive temporary exhibitions, and the new speciality of French painting and Impressionism.
During the preliminary design project, the basic architectural concept of the winning submission was refined and adapted to meet the needs of its future users. Further details were also added to the timetable and cost estimate for realization of the project. The cost target is CHF 178.8 million.
In line with the recommendations made by the city’s structural engineering department, the above-ground and below-ground volume of the new building has been reduced in all its dimensions and the area in front of it facing Heimplatz enlarged, so that the new construction will appear smaller in the context of the urban landscape than was originally envisaged. The Kunsthaus, in its capacity as user/operator, has presented the key points of its business plan. The forecast additional expenditure will be covered by maintaining the existing high level of internal financing (over 50 percent) in combination with the increased subsidy set out in the city of Zurich’s cultural mission statement.

At the behest of the Head of the Department of Finance, Zurich City Government hereby undertakes to provide oversight of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Kunsthaus Extension, within the meaning of art. 84 of the Swiss Civil Code (ZGB).

45 objections submitted to planned design
There have been 45 separate objections submitted to the planned design of the Kunsthaus Zürich extension, many of which contain the same demand: that architect David Chipperfield’s new structure be set back several metres.
The city, which will examine all objections, has decided to treat the multiple identical submissions in consultation with the group known as ‘Open Pfauen’. In the event that it rejects a given demand it undertakes to provide justification in the form of a report presented to city legislature together with the design plan.

Kunsthaus Extension - Design plans available to the public
The design plans for the Kunsthaus Zürich extension project are available to the public for public debate from November 10th until January 24th 2011. After this procedure, eventual objections will be collected, processed and incorporated in a report for the city council.

Creation of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Kunsthaus Extension
The Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft has committed itself to contributing CHF 75 million in private funds to the Kunsthaus Extension, to which end it has created a foundation for the collection of donations. Its purpose: booking incoming funds, supervising their use in keeping with statutes – exclusively to finance the Extension – and ensuring the provision to donors of all tax advantages associated with donating to the Foundation. President of the Foundation Board is Franz J. Kessler, Attorney at Law.
The first phase will involve accepting major donations from foundations and business enterprises.

Zurich communal council approves increase of planning credit of 11,5 million francs
The expansion project of the Kunsthaus Zurich has cleared a major hurdle: on 14.04.2010 with 99 to 3 votes the city parliament sanctioned the increase for the project credit from 6.5 million to 18 million francs as requested by the city council. This amount is earmarked for detailed cost estimates, documentation required for  the construction permit, and for the elaboration of the concept plans.

Project Partnership formed for Kunsthaus Expansion
On the 27th of October, at the conclusion of the architectural competition for the Kunsthaus Zürich expansion, the organizing committee of the expansion project restructured itself into a simple project partnership.  Partners and hence principals are the city of Zurich, the association Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft (ZKG) and the foundation Stiftung Zürcher Kunsthaus (SZK).
With the establishment of the Project Partnership for the Kunsthaus Expansion (Einfache Gesellschaft Kunsthaus Erweiterung, EGKE), the public and private partners of the Kunsthaus Zurich Expansion Project have set up an organization which is to assist in the project's beginning phases.  Having set the goal of realizing the expansion at the Heimplatz, the EGKE will develop the private design plans, will secure the financing and will oversee the construction project, as well as being in charge of public relations and outreach.

More open, greener, better. The winning project after revision.
David Chipperfield’s winning design for the Kunsthaus extension has been optimized in line with the jury’s recommendations for its function within the fabric of the city as a whole, and with regard to its internal organization. The revision addresses all of the recommendations made by the jury. The partners and future principals of the Kunsthaus extension – the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, the city of Zurich and the Stiftung Zürcher Kunsthaus – have now been presented with a better project, greener and more open: in a word, feasible. At the end of October the partners will establish a project corporation.

Winning project presented, Exhibition of competition submissions
David Chipperfield’s winning project for the Kunsthaus Zürich extension is a striking formulation of the plan for a 21st-century museum to meet the demands of art and the general public alike. The Kunsthaus extension's partners – the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, the city of Zurich, and the Stiftung Zürcher Kunsthaus – presented it on a press conference on 15 December. The project submitted by the renowned architect David Chipperfield was selected by a large majority as the winner of the competition for an extension to the Kunsthaus. The international jury found the design’s pristine elegance offers the best solution to the planned museum’s needs, in terms of both content and urban planning. According to the jury’s report, the extension will serve both the art world and the public well.

All 20 submissions to the competition were shown from 16 December 2008 until 11 January 2009 in the lecture hall of the Kunsthaus Zürich. 6000 visitors have seen the exhibition.

Information about David Chipperfield Architects is available at

David Chipperfield Architects wins competition for an extension to the Kunsthaus Zürich
A jury presided over by Walter B. Kielholz and moderated by Prof. Carl Fingerhuth has declared the project submitted by David Chipperfield Architects the winner of the competition to design an extension to the Kunsthaus Zürich. The Kunsthaus extension's partners – the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, the city of Zurich, and the Stiftung Zürcher Kunsthaus – will present the winning project at a joint press conference to be held on 15 December. All 20 projects submitted will then be made available for public viewing from 16 December 2008 until 11 January 2009 at the Kunsthaus.

Start of the architectural competition
With 214 applications by architects from 22 different countries, the Kunsthaus extension project in Zurich awakened international interest. In early March, a jury of 20 led by Walter B. Kielholz, President of the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, selected twenty offices to take part in what is expected to be the final phase of the competition. See the section on the extension in the Kunsthaus-Magazin 2/08 for detailed information on the jury.

The 20 Teams are from Switzerland (9), Europe (8), and farther afield (3). In early April, the participants – who made their submissions anonymously and included renowned and seasoned architects as well as two young talent teams – are to be comprehensively briefed, largely on the basis of the Competitions Brief.
The process chosen guarantees fair treatment of all teams until a winning project is selected in November, and includes the option of a short list of teams being asked to submit revisions in the first half of 2009.

The city of Zurich is a supporter of the project, with the city legislature ratifying a project loan of CHF 6.5 million, applied for by the municipal council in the fall of 2007, by a vote of 113 to 3 on 26 March 2008.


Architectural competition for the Kunsthaus Zürich extension opens
Advertisements in trade journals and online platforms invite architects from around the world to take part in the competition, from 14 December 2007 to 1 February 2008.
As expected, a large number of applications has been made, and the international jury (presided over by Walter B. Kielholz, President of the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, and moderated by Prof. Carl Fingerhuth) has selected 20 suitable teams to take part in the anonymous competition.
Provided that Zurich’s city legislature approves the project loan of CHF 6.5 million requested, the applicants selected are to receive complete documentation in April 2008 before commencing work on their projects.
The jury is to evaluate the resulting submissions and choose a winner during the fourth quarter of 2008. If necessary, several designs may be selected for a second round of anonymously submitted revisions, to take place in the first half of 2009.

Strategy for Kunsthaus extension on Heimplatz firmly on track

The project has taken a positive turn with the canton deeding the grounds of the cantonal school to serve as the location of the Kunsthaus extension. The architectural competition received an explicit go-ahead before the real estate deal was notarized. The last stone fell into place when the municipal council approved an application for a so-called project loan in its first session following summer break, and dispatched the bill on its way through the relevant political bodies, the city legislature and the advisory committee. With the first tranche of the loan paid out, the competition can get underway with the elaboration of the preliminary project.

At the first press conference for the Kunsthaus extension, held on 29 August 2007 in the lecture room to coincide with publication of the city council’s decision, the steering committee set out the project’s main points and explained the next steps in the process. In his opening remarks, Walter Kielholz, President of the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, called the New Kunsthaus “a top-flight museum” that would hold its own in an ever more dynamic international environment. He also emphasized the Kunstgesellschaft’s willingness to procure half of the funds necessary for the extension (CHF 150 million) from private investors.
Zurich’s Mayor Elmar Ledergerber, who arranged the property deal, thanked the canton for its showing of “solid support” by literally preparing the grounds for the extension. He then went on to note the special significance of the major project for Zurich as a city of art and culture, and briefly explained the political process involving the city legislature.
He was followed by City Councillor Kathrin Martelli, who considered the urban planning and architectural aspects of the project and set out the aims and key features of the competition to take place in 2008/2009. She called the preliminary cooperation between city and Kunsthaus “exemplary”.
Director Christoph Becker addressed the contents of the extension to the Kunsthaus. Taking as his starting point the origin and context of the Kunsthaus Zürich, he presented the artistic concept as developed by the museum’s art experts. The Kunsthaus Zürich’s own collection, he explained, will profit from a more dynamic exhibition in the new building, and thus create an exciting contrast with the more classical form of the Bührle Collection, as well as the presentation of art in the existing building. In addition to this central feature of the concept, he went on, the Kunsthaus will also become a more open institution. The concept is based on the extension’s three core ideas: more room for the museum’s own collection, which is to continue to grow; inclusion of the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection; and the removal of material containts on medium-sized travelling shows and on the art warehouse.

The Kunsthaus extension project is to be guided by the museum’s artistic contents as well as by long-term considerations, which give rise to its spatial design and in turn constitute the core of the competition brief for participating architects.

The Kunsthaus extension’s three partners were delighted by the largely positive press coverage they enjoyed following the initial presentation, with articles in 46 print media reaching a readership of six million throughout Switzerland.

First draft competition rendering of Kunsthaus Zurich 
extension by winner (November 2008)
David Chipperfield Architects / ©Imaging Atelier.
First draft competition rendering of Kunsthaus Zurich
extension by winner (November 2008)
David Chipperfield Architects / ©Imaging Atelier
First draft competition rendering of Kunsthaus Zurich 
extension by winner (November 2008)
David Chipperfield Architects / ©Imaging Atelier
First draft competition rendering of Kunsthaus Zurich
extension by winner (November 2008)
David Chipperfield Architects / ©Imaging Atelier
Heimplatz with the existing Kunsthaus (light-coloured building below) and the grounds of the extension (light-coloured area above)
© 2008 Geomatik + Vermessung Stadt Zürich
Heimplatz with the existing Kunsthaus (light-coloured building below) and the grounds of the extension (light-coloured area above)
© 2008 Geomatik + Vermessung Stadt Zürich

View over the Kunsthaus to the new place of extension at Heimplatz
Photo ©
View over the Kunsthaus to the new place of extension at Heimplatz
Photo ©
Kunsthaus Zürich, Karl Moser’s structure 1910 
Photo ©
Kunsthaus Zürich, Karl Moser’s structure 1910
Photo ©