Museum Liaunig Neuhaus – Querkraft Architects
The Museum Liaunig is an art museum located in the Austrian village of Neuhaus, not far from the Slovenian border. The museum is housed in an iconic tube-shaped building, designed by Querkraft Architects, overlooking the Drava River valley.
The Museum Liaunig displays the collection of the industrialist Herbert Liaunig, consisting of about 3,000 artworks by Austrian contemporary artists, 200 of which are displayed at the museum on a rotational basis. Along with contemporary artworks, the museum houses a beautiful collection of 600 pieces of geometric African jewelry dating from the 19th to the 20th century.
The museum’s estate also includes a cafe and a sculpture park.
An aerial view of the museum; photo Reinhart Nunner, courtesy of Querkraft.
A visionary museum at the base of the Alps | The Liaunig
People driving along the narrow road bordering the Drava river that runs on the southern edge of Carinthia toward the Slovenian border would probably be surprised by a dazzling vision: a huge cantilevered concrete box emerging from a grassy hillock, apparently floating free over the thoroughfare.
Or, much more probably, you reach it not by chance, deviating from the main road that connects Klagenfurt and Graz to pay a visit to one of the most interesting museums in Austria: the Liaunig.
View fromBleiburger Strasse; photo © Museum Liaunig.
The museum at dusk, photo © Paul Ott, courtesy of Querkraft.
The museum was created to display the collections of the industrialist Herbert W. Liaunig, composed of over 3,000 modern and contemporary artworks and a noteworthy selection of African gold objects. An emerging Austrian architectural practice, Querkraft, was therefore selected to design the new home of the museum, which opened in 2008.
The building architecture is quite peculiar: in order to reduce construction costs and energy consumption, the museum is largely built underground.
Longitudinal section; image © Querkraft.
The museum lobby with the viewable depot on the right; photo courtesy of Querkraft.
From the main entrance, visitors cross a large hall, where the museum deposits are located and visible through a large glass enclosure, reaching a spectacular main exhibition gallery. This has the shape of a 160 meters-long, 13 meters wide, concrete tube forming a single 2,000 square meters hall where paintings and sculptures are exposed. Several ceiling windows pour natural light into the gallery. Two large terraced openings at both ends of the tube offer a stunning view of the surrounding landscape, one overlooking the street and the hills behind and the other facing the Drava River valley.
Separate rooms for graphics work as well as dedicated to the African gold collection further complete the building program, both spaces are completely underground.
Interior views of the museum.
The panoramic terrace on the Drava River valley.
The 2015 expansion
After being closed for one year for expansion works, the Liaunig Museum reopened in Spring 2015 with brand new exhibition galleries. The expansion project, again designed by Querkraft Architects, completes the space program of the museum.
above: axonometric cut-off of the museum complex; image courtesy of Querkraft.
The triangle-shaped hall for special exhibitions; image courtesy of Querkraft.
A triangular-shaped hall for special exhibitions on the ground floor, with an adjoining atrium where paintings by Sean Scully are on view until October 2015, two underground galleries where the permanent collections of glass works and miniatures are showcased, and a fascinating circular storage space for sculptures, accessible to the visitors, have been added to the original building.
Furthermore, the services to the public have been completed with a museum store, accessible from the entrance foyer. The Liaunig Museum is now recognized as a listed building and has been awarded the “Austrian Museum Prize”.
The new storage space.
Sean Sculley exhibition, 2015, installation view.
All images courtesy of The Liaunig Museum and Querkraft.
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