ML Museum Liaunig, Neuhaus, Austria – When Heinz Tesar's museum for the Essl Collection was opened in Klosterneuburg, near Vienna nine years ago it was Austria's first newly built private museum and seemed likely to long remain the only one of its kind. However a worthy successor soon came along in the form of the Liaunig Museum in which a new generation of architects interprets the phenomenon "art" in its own way.

Located in the scenic regions of Southern Austria, the project is built high up in the landscape. Museum Liaunig has a remarkable architecture that protrudes out on two sides over a steep-sided landscape. The cut through the hill marks a punctual intervention in nature.

Anchored into the site the new museum emerges more like a work of art. Only a small part of the outstretched museum building is visible. Cut through the hill, the main body of the museum slices through a densely wooded, steep-sided embankment, providing an unparalleled view over the Drava river seventy metres below. The building cantilevers an impressive thirty metres out, over a steep bank towards the oncoming road - clearly visible to
the approaching visitors.
The museum entrance zone is orientated toward both the centre of Neuhaus and the nearby historical castle owned by the museum’s patron. Visitors to the museum go through the substantial storage depot that composes one of the main areas of the museum. Stretching the whole length of the gently sloping approach to the main exhibition hall, visitors are accompanied by this ‘wine cellar of art’. This underground space offers the possibility to organise a variety of exhibitions by virtue of flexible screens and lighting arrangements.
The building' s core is a 160-metre long, fully day-lit exhibition hall, with protected terraces at each end. The continuous 13-metre wide by 7-metre high space is covered by a part translucent curved-skin – an industrial enclosure permitting daylight. The hall is organised with mobile exhibition panels.

A daylight-free, gently conical room dedicated for the Graphic Collection lies adjacent the ramped entrance. The collection is enclosed by the main hall and is oriented towards the entrance. A window facing Neuhaus at the end of this room sits over the foyer. Another chamber, connected by a small corridor, hosts the Gold Collection. Finally, Brigitte Kowanz' s light installation brings the visitor back towards the underground collection.

Efficiency and sustainability:
The high cost usually attributed to the external enclosure was avoided by sinking the majority of the building below ground. The excavated soil was reutilized for remodelling the site. Industrial materials like concrete, glass and sheet
metal dominate the visible portion of the building. Set into the hill, the building benefits from a tempered environment. A geothermal heat pump exploits the constant temperature of the ground. Roof lighting was used instead of artificial lighting whenever it was possible.

Projects Description and Credits:
Client: DKFM Herbert Liaunig
Design and Planning: Querkraft (Jakob Dunkl, Gerd Erhartt, Peter Sapp)
Project Architect: Erwin Stättner
Project Team: Sandra Denk, Dominique Dinies, Vera Kittler, Janine Hochrieser, Jan Geldermann, Charlotte Lieske, Tobias Colz, Petra Meisenbichler, Dana Rakova
General Contractor: Werkstatt Wien, Vienna
Executive Architect: Querkraft Zt Gmbh, Vienna
Structural Engineering: Werkraum Wien Ingenieure
Project Management: Jan Umlauf, Vienna.
Effective Area: 4,400 M²
Gross Floor Area: 4,810 M²
Cubature: 32,100 M³
Competition: June 2006
Start Of Construction: August 2007
Completion: May 2008

ML Museum Liaunig by Querkraft Architects

1 of