Extension to the Swiss National Museum

The Swiss National Museum is a particular highlight for architecture enthusiasts. It is a meeting place for two architectural epochs that could scarcely be more different.

  • Architects: Christ & Gantenbein
    Location: Opposite Zurich main station
    Feature: Historicism meets modernity
  • Completed: 2016

Approaching from the main station, the first part of this museum of cultural history you notice is the building designed in 1898 by Zurich architect Gustav Gull. It is also something of a monument to himself – the “G” shape of the castle-like structure references his own initials. The building greets the viewer with turrets, arches and an inviting forecourt.

But enter the courtyard through one of the publicly accessible arches and you’ll discover something completely different. Built to a design by architectural firm Christ & Gantenbein in 2016, this modern building – with its strong lines and even surfaces punctuated by bullseye windows – presents a stark contrast to the older structure.

The additional wing connects old and new, enabling visitors to make a complete circuit of the museum for the first time. But the courtyard created by the building is not completely enclosed. The new wing rises above the River Limmat and forms a kind of bridge. There is a view of the river from the inner courtyard, while inside you’ll find captivating spaces for public events and exhibitions. Naturally, both buildings are also worth viewing from inside! 

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Opening Hours

Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am – 5.00pm
Thursday 10.00am – 7.00 pm