Technisches Museum Wien, Vienna
The Technisches Museum Wien (Museum of Technology Vienna), often shortened to TMW, is a renowned museum dedicated to science and technology in Vienna and one of the world’s oldest museums of technology.
Founded in 1909 by Emperor Franz-Joseph I of Austria, the museum is housed in a large Neoclassical building. The museum underwent major renovation works in the 1990s and, in 2010, its entrance foyer was completely redesigned by Austrian architecture firm Querkraft Architects.
The permanent exhibition of the Technisches Museum Wien, comprising objects, graphics, audiovisuals, and interactive exhibits, is divided into thematic sections dedicated to Nature, Transport, Industry, Energy, Mining, Everyday life, Telecommunications, and Musical Instruments.
The museum also includes an educational section, entitled Mini, for children from 2 to 6 years old.
The TMW organizes temporary exhibitions, demonstrations, and activities for adults, families, kids, and schools.
The Technisches Museum Wien includes a library, a café, and a shop, and is fully accessible to people with disabilities.
Photos: cover by Herta Hurnaus, courtesy of QuerKraft architecten; 1 by Tsui, 2 by Tine Nowak
The new entrance foyer at the Technisches Museum Wien by Querkraft Architekten
Introduction by Federica Lusiardi, Inexhibit
If we think that visiting a museum should be an “out of the ordinary” experience, therefore a museum entrance foyer, along with being a space providing a specific set of services to the public, should also be capable of effectively introducing such a captivating experience. To conceive a museum foyer hence requires giving a solution to various constraints, technical and functional of course, but also perceptive and emotional.
The re-design of the entrance foyer of the Technical Museum in Vienna by Querkraft Architekten presented here is an example of a smart approach to the theme since a single, repeated element fulfills most of the requirements of an up-to-date public space.
Given the need to improve the physical and emotional qualities of the long-outdated entrance of the Technical Museum in Vienna, Querkraft created their version of the “dendriform column”. The non-structural, tree-shaped envelops introduced by the Austrian practice, along with acting as shading aids, also provide seating for the public, acoustic absorption, and lighting. Not less important, they also radically contribute to the playful and fascinating atmosphere of the TMW new entrance hall.
Photo © Peter Sedlacek, courtesy of querkraft architekten
The TMW Technical Museum Vienna – text by Querkraft Architekten
During the summer of 2010, the technical museum Vienna together with Querkraft Architekten designed a new entrance foyer and museum shop.
A modern museum service requires a correspondingly modern level of service – for this purpose space is a must. Older museum buildings are challenged to expand and modernize whilst remaining attached to their existing historical structures. In the 1990s the technical museum faced precisely this difficulty as it tried to gain more space for a larger entrance foyer, a new museum shop and café as well as sufficient amenities, cloakroom space, and ticketing capacity. The architectural solution that was chosen in the 1990s was a steel-glass box placed in front of the existing historical structure. This solution proved problematic on a few levels shortly after its opening in 1999. The foyer was dominated by large temperature fluctuations, poor acoustics, and ventilation, as well as less than optimal visitor circulation. A competition followed in which Querkraft Architekten managed to convince the 6-person jury with their design.
Photo © Peter Sedlacek, courtesy of Querkraft Architekten
The basic principles of the new design
The basic principle of design is the creation of a clear master plan and visitor circulation with an accompanying welcoming emotional atmosphere, as well as to improve the building physics. In the middle of the design, the solution is multifunctional pieces of furniture made of glass-fiber reinforced plastic and fabric. These ‘trees’ provide seating, shade, and acoustic absorption and at night they serve as illuminating bodies that fill the room with white or blue glowing light. The objects, which resemble trees and can be perceived as an innuendo to the relationship between technology and nature, formally envelope the steel columns and allow a view through the glass ceiling and onto the historical façade.
The shop, which has to do with little floor space, receives new, flexible moveable furnishings for the presentation of products – aligned to the overall design principle.
The realized design from Querkraft Architekten reveals a definite architectural statement, which communicates with the existing structure and at the same time fulfills the functional requirements of a modern museum entrance.
Top: photo © Herta Hurnaus, courtesy of querkraft architekten
Bottom: photo © Peter Sedlacek, courtesy of querkraft architekten
The Museum of Technology in Vienna
Founded in 1909 by Emperor Franz Joseph and housed in an imposing neoclassical building, the Technisches Museum Wien is one of the oldest institutions of its kind dedicated to technology.
The permanent exhibition, divided into 6 sections, depicts topics ranging from transport to telecommunications, from everyday objects to energy-production technologies.
Top: photo by Mattdork
Bottom left: photo by Tine Nowak; right: photo by Tsui
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