Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

Monument im Fruchtland, 3, Bern
Bern, Switzerland
Email: kontact@zpk.org
Phone: +41 (0)313590101
Website: https://www.zpk.org/en/
closed on: Mondays, and December 24/25
Museum Type: Art
Zentrum Pul Klee Bern

The Zentrum Paul Klee is a museum of modern art and an exhibition center in Bern primarily,  yet not exclusively, dedicated to the Swiss artist from whom it takes its name.

The museum’s architecture and site
The museum’s building, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and which appearance is inspired by the hilly landscape encircling the city of Bern, is easily recognizable for its wavy metal roof, upon which lawns and agricultural fields have been planted with the aim to achieve a complete union of art and nature, coherently with Paul Klee’s artistic vision and philosophy.

What to see at the “Zentrum” 
The Zentrum Paul Klee houses a permanent collection of over 4,000 artworks by Paul Klee. The pieces are usually displayed on a rotational basis, in semi-temporary thematic exhibitions that often combine works by Klee with those by other artists, such as Wassily Kandinsky, Sigmar Polke, Alexander Calder or Henry Moore, just to name a few.

Additional activities and services
The Zentrum Paul Klee includes temporary exhibition rooms, a large auditorium, a library, a cafeteria, a museum shop, rooms for special events and meetings, and the Creaviva space, an art workshop especially suited for children. The museum is fully accessible to physically-impaired persons.

The architecture of the Zentrum Paul Klee by Renzo Piano


The Zentrum and its landscape, photo by Riccardo Bianchini,  Inexhibit

The Zentrum Paul Klee, in Bern, is more than a museum dedicated to the Swiss artist from which it takes its name. Along with displaying the work of Paul Klee, it is indeed a multi-disciplinary center that organizes a broad range of cultural activities: temporary exhibition, concerts, seminars, learning classes and workshops both for adults and for children in its Creaviva learning facility. But equally important, the ZPK is a place where being involved in a fascinating experience, beginning from its building.


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Photo: Zentrum Paul Klee / Erwin_Schenk_ZPK

The museum construction is a creation by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and was conceived as a “landscape sculpture”, inspired both by the surrounding hills and by the idea underpinning many of Klee’s works, such as his “Monument im Fruchtland” (Monument in the fertile country) painting, where the pattern of the cultivated fields suggests an ideal union between art and everyday life.
Visitors approaching the museum are invited to take a walk around it, so to appreciate how the building is combined with the vegetation in a harmonious whole yet remaining perfectly visible. Such a relationship between architecture and landscape is not only visual: the covering soil is indeed regularly sowed, cultivated and harvested by the Swiss College of Agriculture and a local farmer to provide organic crops.
The museum structure is formed by a succession of curved metal vaults, also working as a support for vegetation above.

Zentrum Paul Klee Renzo Piano conceptual sketch

Zentrum Paul Klee, a conceptual sketch by Renzo Piano

Klee Zentrum Bern

Photo by Martin Abegglen

Zentrum Paul Klee Renzo Piano site plan

Zentrum Paul Klee, site plan; image © RBBW


Photo by Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit

The frontal part of the museum buildings contains the most public functions: creative workshops and learning areas, the Kindermuseum Creaviva space, the library, the shop, and the cafeteria, while the rear portion houses the exhibition galleries, the auditorium, and various service spaces.
A separate restaurant is housed in a 19th-century villa at a close distance from the museum.

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The entrance hall, photo by Paolo Mazzo

Zentrum Paul Klee Renzo Piano longitudinal section

Longitudinal section, © RPBW

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The ZPK is particularly addressed to children and families, photos by Forgemind ArchiMedia

The permanent collection of Klee’s artworks are displayed on a rotating basis through thematic temporary exhibitions which often combines pieces belonging to the Centre with artworks on loan from other institutions, thus constantly providing fresh events to visitors.
The overall atmosphere of the ZPK is that of a quiet, involving and inspiring place, able to foster not only the art knowledge but also a more relaxed vision of our times.


Photo by Riccardo Bianchini,  Inexhibit


Photo: Zentrum Paul Klee / Erwin_Schenk_ZPK

Cover image ©  Inexhibit;

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copyright Inexhibit 2022 - ISSN: 2283-5474