The Rapperswil-Jona Municipal Museum reopens with bold Janus Extension project
Located in the Swiss town of Rapperswil, a group of three buildings dating to the Middle Ages make up the Rapperswil-Jona Municipal Museum. From January 2010 to the autumn of 2011, the museum closed and underwent extensive renewal and restructuring.
At the end of the 13th century, a small fortified complex was built inside the town walls of Rapperswil on Lake Zurich. It was here that the museum was established in 1943. By 2002, emerging structural and circulation issues called for a significant renovation. The idea slowly gained momentum, and by 2007 it was ready to become a reality. Renovation of the museum was thus the first joint project as a step into the cultural policy of the future.
The Janus project from mlzd architects won a competition held in 2007. The design focuses on highlighting the public significance of the Rapperswil-Jona Municipal Museum. It is designed to attract the attention of members of the public interested in culture without stopping at the municipal boundaries and presents the museum and the town as an appealing destination for excursions.
The new building acts as an exhibition space, and proficiently responds to the historic context of the town. Its elegant bronze façade reads as a grand entrance to the museum complex. The shape was developed from the lateral façades of the old buildings. Its façade and roof have been designed in such a way that the existing windows and doors of the old buildings are not intersected anywhere. The view from the north, which is important for the overall visual impression of the town, remains unchanged.
Illumination of the building through its roof and the transmission of light from floor to floor deliberately create a stark internal contrast with the legacy buildings. It then becomes easier for people to navigate through the whole complex. New is clearly offset against the old, heightening awareness for the threshold to the latter. Visitors are able to step back in time. Various direct lines of vision show up the town and museum in unexpected perspectives and vistas. People can move around the museum, becoming familiar with the buildings and the exhibitions on display in them.