The Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland announced the glorious news today that it has hired Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner to undertake an expansion in the nearby Iselin-Weber Park. The project is slated to cost about 80 million Swiss francs, or about $82 million, a price that includes the acquisition of the land, the construction work, and 10 years of operating expenses. So far 50 million Swiss francs, or about $51 million, have been raised.
Zumthor, who won the 2009 Pritzker Prize, was born in the city of Basel, which borders Riehen, and said in a statement, “The sky above Basel, the city and its surroundings—those are the landscapes of my youth. It is heart-warming to be able to design a major building here.” He will be expanding on the work of another giant, Renzo Piano, whose design for the Beyeler opened in 1997.
Zumthor is responsible for one of the most beautiful museums I have ever visited, the Kolumba, in Cologne, Germany, a commission from the city’s Catholic archdiocese that opened in 2007 to house its art collection. Built around a Gothic church destroyed in World War II, earlier ruins, and a chapel from the 1950s, the building is by turns elegant, somber, and sumptuous, built with gray brick, stone, and wood, among other materials. The year after its completion, Zumthor won the Praemium Imperiale for architecture.
The architect’s other museum credits include the Kunsthaus Bregenz, in Austria, the Serpentine’s 2011 summer pavilion (with Piet Oudolf), and a planned redesign of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s campus, which has not yet begun construction.
The actual design for the Beyeler expansion will be unveiled in the late fall or winter, according to museum officials.