The Lenbachhaus Museum in Munich reopened this week with a modern new wing designed by Foster + Partners. During the construction of the new wing, dubbed the 'Jewel Box,' the museum's historic buildings, which date back to 1891, were renovated and retrofitted to improve their environmental performance. As part of the renovation, a new low-energy lighting system was added and an energy-efficient water-based heating and cooling system was installed.
The main wing of the Lenbachhaus Museum was built in 1891 as a studio and villa for the artist Franz von Lenbach, and several additions have been added over the past 100+ years. In the latest set of upgrades to the museum, an extension from 1972 was removed to make way for a new entrance, and a new wing, designed by Foster + Partners, was added. The new building is clad in metal tubes that were designed to complement the villa’s ochre color and texture. The new wing is being called the ‘jewel box’ because it displays some of the museum’s most valued works of art.
At the heart of the museum is a new daylit atrium that contains ticketing counters and a large cantilevered staircase that leads towards galleries on the building’s second level. “During the day sunlight washes the white walls via a long, slender opening at roof level and horizontal louvres cast changing patterns of light and shade within the space,” explain the architects in a press release. And one of the most impressive features of the new wing is a large site-specific lighting installation designed by Olafur Eliasson.
One of the primary aims of the expansion and renovation project was to improve the museum’s energy efficiency, and reduce it’s carbon footprint. A new radiant heating and cooling system was installed in the museum’s floors, which will use much less energy than the old air-based system. Additionally, a new energy-efficient lighting system was installed, and a rainwater catchment and recycling program has been added.