Engaging with change at the Karlsplatz
For us, this project is as much about taking the opportunity to define the diffused limits of the Glacis more clearly and to reposition the Karlskirche as an important component of the square, as it is about creating additional spaces for the Wien museum.
Our initial concern was to determine the kind of extension that would best complement the existing museum. We felt that the present volume should continue to define the visual limits of the square as they are today. However, the program requirements stressed the need for additional, discrete exhibition spaces.
Consequently, our emergent idea was to configure an ensemble of independent additions – a novel aggregation – rather than proposing a single new volume. Our goal has been to find an architectural expression that could accommodate a range of unforeseen activities that might occur in both the museum and the Karlsplatz square in the future.
Our proposed extension is thus an ensemble of four distinctive components: a colonnade facing the square that houses all the active public functions; a trapezoid-shaped volume inserted into the colonnade – a key feature that introduces a visual distinction between the old and new – a single-floor rooftop addition to host additional exhibition spaces; and a basement level volume accommodating further open display and service areas.
In sum, the proposed extension ensemble does not aspire to transform the museum’s existing image: rather, it seeks to create a dialogue between familiarity and novelty, between old and new, creating an enveloping structure to engage with the endless progress of change at the Karlsplatz site.