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The light interior of the Brandhorst Museum ; The light interior of the Brandhorst Museum ;

Brandhorst Museum, Munich

Innovative daylighting concept for gallery spaces

Arup's lighting designers were involved from conceptual design to final commissioning of the electric and daylighting systems for the gallery and public spaces the Brandhorst Museum, housing the Udo and Anette Brandhorst Collection – a substantial collection of late twentieth century and contemporary art.

The new building was designed by Sauerbruch Hutton Architects. Arup worked closely with them, Udo Brandhorst and the Bavarian State Picture Collection to develop the natural and electric lighting design for this new museum.

Sensitive daylighting

The building includes approximately 3,200m2 of exhibition space, focusing on the use of daylight to illuminate spaces and artworks. This provided a significant challenge as the conservation requirements of lighting for artwork can be very strict. The lighting design needed to be sensitive to this while providing a comfortable and inviting place for visitors.

The museum is arranged on three storeys connected by a generous staircase. On the lowest level, there is a large and well-daylit 'Patio' which forms the focal point for a suite of electrically-lit galleries dedicated to media and graphic art.

Diffuse, illuminated ceilings for the large spaces on the upper floor utilise both electric and natural lighting. Diffuse, illuminated ceilings for the large spaces on the upper floor utilise both electric and natural lighting.
Diffuse, illuminated ceilings for the large spaces on the upper floor utilise both electric and natural lighting.

Redirecting light

The ground floor has seven galleries illuminated by a unique and innovative system that brings daylight in through side windows in the façade and directs it to appear as if coming from directly above. 

This is accomplished through an external light-redirection panel, a curved reflective ceiling and a system of internal translucent membranes that diffuse the daylight. 

Fluorescent lighting is used to uplight the ceiling above the membranes in order to provide light to the space when daylight is insufficient.

A wide range of techniques, including computer simulation, scale models and full-scale mock-ups, were used to develop the lighting concepts.