1804 Museum Fribourg

The neighbourhood “de Perolles,” is largely characterised by a diverse mix of structures and buildings and is in the midst of undergoing substantial and far-reaching changes and developments. The location of the site for the new museum plays a pivotal roll in this context, as does the placement of the museum’s volume and the composition of the corresponding landscape. The new building seeks to mediate between the different heights and volumes of the surrounding buildings - the low eaves of the existing museum and the adjacent creche - whilst simultaneously creating a focus point around “Les Arsenaux.” The positioning of the new volume creates a new set of urban conditions: a stately forecourt along the Route des Arsenaux on the one hand and an intimate outdoor green space along the railway tracks. These two areas are connected through the design of the landscape.

The museum building adopts a contextual pose at different angles: next to the unaltered listed building, it is the subdued contemporary counterpart. At the Route des Arsenaux, it strikes the pose of a confident urban landmark. At the green boulevard by the track bed, the creche and the low eaves of the existing building, its two-storey volume embodies a quiet restraint. The new fuses with the old - structurally and programmatically - on the ground floor with two staircases, skylights and connecting openings. It is at this juncture that the museum will come alive to the visitor.

The use of the same colours and materials emphasises the unity of the two buildings inside and out. The façade design in structured exposed concrete with earthy tones is based on the warm plaster façade of the old building and refers to the theme of the natural history museum. In the interior, the warm tone of the coloured exposed concrete forms a quiet and natural background for all exhibits. The colours, fabrics and materials used create a museum which, together with its exhibits, is to unfold its magic in the real and the tangible.