Beyeler Foundation Museum

  • A flat glass roof is the centrepiece of the design, admitting natural light while protecting artwork from climatic extremes.
  • Arup acted as consulting engineer and provided energy analysis and natural lighting design.
  • The Museum holds the extensive art collection of Hildy and Ernst Beyeler.

The Beyeler Foundation Museum was designed by Renzo Piano and is located in the municipality of Riehen, Switzerland. The restrained, tranquil design was created to ‘serve art, and not the other way round’.

Arup worked on the project as consulting engineer and was responsible for the structural scheme design, detailed design of the roof including the glazing, services engineering, detailed energy analysis and natural lighting design.

The Museum provides a permanent home for Hildy and Ernst Beyeler’s modern art collection – built up over five decades and ranging from Van Gogh and Monet to Picasso and Rothko, in addition to sculptures from Africa, Alaska and Oceania.

Design and structure

The building is clad in red porphyry – an igneous rock – and comprises four monumental parallel walls with glazed end walls and a glazed winter garden.

The roof is multi-layered, with inclined opaque glass sun shading, a flat double-glazed roof, operable louvers, a glass ceiling and a second ceiling in perforated metal. The roof allows sufficient daylight to illuminate the art on winter days and provides adequate control of sunlight levels on bright days.

The museum’s loft acts as an environmental buffer zone, with passive solar gains in winter creating an insulating blanket above the art zone. The inclined and fritted glass sun shades are arranged to provide an ideal location for the future installation of photovoltaic cells.

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  • Lily pond and overhanging roof of Beyeler Museum. Credit Michel Denance.Open gallery

    The flat glass roof is the centrepiece of the design.

  • Interior of west gallery.Open gallery

    The restrained, tranquil design was created to ‘serve art, and not the other way round’.