Angelika Kauffmann Museum, Schwarzenberg

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Placed on a rising slope, west of the village centre, two small museums have been established in a historic and well-kept “Wälderhaus” (house in the woods). The former living area serves as a local museum and is characterized by the typical bowery anteroom, which the people of Bregenzerwald call “Schopf” (porch) and which, though unheated, is protected against wind and weather by windows and ceiling-mounted drop down shutters. It is a type of room often used by Dietrich | Untertrifaller.

The new Angelika Kauffmann museum occupies the space of the former domestic wing and is accessible via the barn floor. A wide sliding wall can be pushed aside to open the house. The foyer, which reaches up to the roof, lies behind a glass wall, giving the impression as if the gate to the barn floor were open. The doors, i.e. the part that can be opened, on the other hand, are made of solid wood and are closed. The fresh pale yellow silver fir wood of the walls and furniture contrasts with the age-darkened log wall that remained unpaneled.

New beams secure the roof load and consist of steel sections to ensure differentiation from the old carpentry. The floor, rough sawn fir planks, is as soft as a carpet. It extends through the exhibition hall, whose side walls are divided into three shallow alcoves, separated by slender glazed spaces in which the steel beams, carrying the roof load of the old wooden trusses, come to the fore. This is a hidden reminder of the structure of the old building envelope into which the new and pieced together skin has been integrated.

The low ceiling and alcove elements are not supposed to have a room dividing effect, even though a climatic division exists. However, this is not an example of a house built inside a house - a popular theme of postmodernism. Furthermore, though the room dividing elements define the exhibition hall, they also allow for memories of the former and shielding farm building, which makes up more than half of the old farm. This architectural dialogue, though sophisticated, does not dominate the center stage. The portraits by the great artist from Schwarzenberg, Angelika Kauffmann (1741-1807) come into their own, dimly illuminated in front of the white wall spaces. This building is a diffident and subtle combination of the small and the big world, of tradition and innovation.


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