A new space dedicated to experimental approaches to contemporary art has recently opened in Susch, a town in the Engadin valley, in the Swiss Alps
Muzeum Susch, founded by the Polish entrepreneur Grażyna Kulczyk, is located among the remains of a former vicarage and hospice building that formed part of a rural monastery founded in 1157 at the foot of the Flüela Pass. During the 19th century, the complex became an industrial brewery building.
Swiss architects Chasper Schmidlin and Lukas Voellmy were commissioned to restore and expand these structures. The project entailed minimal architectural interventions, showing sympathy to the history of the building, while creating a space for a contemporary art museum in an unusual setting, in the mountains.
The museum comprises three buildings: the Bieraria (‘brewery’ in Romansh) and Bieraria Veglia (‘old brewery’) host the exhibition space, the offices and a restaurant, while Chasa della Santa houses the artists’ residency program, Temporars Susch.
As the building lies under Cantonal protection, additional space has been created by excavating into the mountain rock below and beside the Bieraria, also creating an underground passageway that connects it with the Bieraria Veglia. Over 700 square meters of additional floor space have been created inside the old brewery, totaling 1,500 square meters of exhibition space. Thanks to the 4 m underground extension, the old central cooling tower of the brewery is now 17 m tall.
The museum showcases permanent, site-specific installations by international contemporary artists, which engage with the architecture and the idiosyncratic structure of the site. Each built-in artwork contributes to shaping the ever-evolving character and distinctive layout of this space, establishing a dialogue with temporary works on display.
The architects also presented a landscaping project for the surroundings of the museum to enhance the historic properties of the site.
[Text Annamaria Maffina]
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