Entrance Building to Transportation ­Museum in Lucerne

In Lucerne, on the way from the old part of town, the visitor first passes by the grand five-star hotels overlooking the shores of Lake Lucerne before reaching the Transportation Museum, Switzerland’s most important museum of technology, occupying an impressive position right by the banks of the lake. The two new buildings of the museum open in 2009, a good ten years after an urban design competition was held to find a solution for the further development of this site. Fronting onto the road is the entrance building, and behind it is the road transport hall, clad distinctively and appropriately with street signs. The two new volumes are aligned with the diverse existing buildings on the site to form a courtyard, which is used for temporary exhibitions. A glance at the facade of the entrance building gives an immediate clue as to the purpose of the complex: as an homage to the core element in mechanised transport, all kinds of wheels, propellers, hubs, turbines, gears etc. are displayed behind the transparent channel-glass facade. Generous glazing on the ground floor makes for a transparent and inviting foyer, a restaurant opens up from here to the street, and another gives onto the inner courtyard. In the upper area, behind the wheels is a more introverted space for an exhibition of communication media, presented in a suitably dark, media-friendly atmosphere. Further up is the brighter congress area with a spacious loggia overlooking the lakeside. Only here can visitors get a close-up view from the inside of the collection of wheels set into the parapet. The wheels are mounted individually on metal grids screwed in front of the insulation. From a distance the outer skin of channel glass looks transparent, but on closer inspection the rolled glass, in contrast to float glass, ­loses its transparency and reveals its slightly irregular structure. Depending on the angle of observation and incident light, this ingenious display window at times reveals its contents, while at others it mirrors the park, presenting a lively and changing aspect to the people relaxing on the banks of the lake.
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