The Salzburg Guggenheim Museum

(Salzburg. Austria) 1989-

Salzburg. one of the cultural capitals of Europe. will be celebrating the millennium of its foundation in 1995. For this occasion, its mayor. Joseph Reschen. has planned an annex to the Guggenheim Museum which will house a part of its immense collection. 90 per cent of which is not at present on view to the public. The greatest problem Salzburg faces today is its dense urban mass and a mountainous belt girding the city that impedes new construction.

The new museum will be sited in the Monchs-berg mountain dominating the city walls.

Hans Hollein was selected as the architect of the project after an international competition which also included Jean Nouvel. Turning the geological odds to his advantage. Hollein opted to convert the caverns concealed in the mountain into exhibition areas. The visitor climbs laterally up thecliff to an excavation 20 metres wide and 40 metres high, illuminated

(Opposite) Model of interior, with main ┬╗talrcase

(Right) Conceptual drawings from above. Stairs lead first to halls inside the caverns, then to the large exhibition spaces, inundated by light, on the upper side. The interplay of contrasting dark and light areas thus becomes the predominant theme of the museum's architecture, reflecting perhaps the same contrasts and sublime effects as in Mozart's The Magic Flute.

In attempting to define spatial configurations, Hollein's writings, exhibitions, actual and Utopian designs throughout his career, have always been in search of an architecture of 'pure space', emancipated from the constraints imposed by physical necessities. In the Guggenheim Museum, given the happy coincidence of the programme, site, technology. as well as the brief of his clients. Hollein seems closer than ever before to realizing this ambition.

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