05. Aug 2010

A work of art for works of art
Brandhorst Museum in Munich/D

Text: Arup Lighting
Photos: View pictures, Hufton & Crow, Bitterbredt

Effective lighting is essential to the success of any art display space and the use of natural light can add substantially to visitor enjoyment. Natural light is often the preferred option for rooms where paintings and sculptures are displayed. The variability of daylight can be an asset, altering the ambience of gallery interiors so they are subtly different on each occasion a visitor walks around. All these aspects have been addressed in the Brandhorst Museum in Munich.

In the design of lighting systems for museums and galleries there is a balance to be struck between the conservation of works on display and the clarity of light required by the visitor. In addition, inter-gallery loan agreements increasingly include stringent requirements on levels of illumination and their duration. An imaginative and expert approach is needed to ensure that galleries and museums meet international standards while maintaining aesthetic appeal to the visitor. Daylight is carbon-free and cost-free and can, if properly harnessed, play an important part in creating a low-energy building. There are, however, downsides to the uncontrolled use of natural light in museums and galleries: sunlight has the potential to overheat a space or flood it with illumination that is too intense for the artworks. These challenges can be addressed with intelligent and creative design. The client team at the Brandhorst Museum placed great emphasis on daylight as the primary illuminant of the works on display, with the stated goal being to maximize the number of visiting hours each year when the works can be appreciated solely under daylight conditions – this is at the heart of the lighting design for the new building. The Brandhorst Museum houses a substantial private collection of late 20th century and contemporary art, mostly paintings. The scheme consists of a simple elongated building of three interconnecting volumes. Its tall “head” marks the south-eastern corner of the Munich museum quarter. The three volumes are distinguished by claddings of different colours and hues. Internally the museum is on three floors connected by a generous staircase. […]
The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 72

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