Architectonic significance

Architect Valerio Olgiati’s monolithic, three storey building impresses with its originality and timeless touch. It juxtaposes the architecture of different eras on the one hand and architecture and nature on the other. The inspirational lines created by the floors, walls, ceilings and stairs guide visitors in natural progression through the spacious rooms that frame the exhibits. The identical floor plan is continuously mirrored, causing visitors to lose their orientation - a concept that supports and strengthens the content of the exhibition.

The architect

Valerio Olgiati was born in 1958 and studied architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He went on to live and work in Zurich and later in Los Angeles for several years. In 1999 he opened his own architectural firm in Zurich, adding a branch office in Flims in 2005. He teaches as a visiting professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the Architectural Association in London, and Cornell University in New York. Since 2002 he holds a professorship at the Accademia di architettura Mendrisio of the Università della Svizzera Italiana. Among his most well known buildings are the school in Paspels, the Yellow House in Flims and the studio house of the songwriter Linard Bardill in Scharans.

Not only is the construction unusual and innovative, so are the materials that were used.

The building consists of light concrete, which, as well as gravel, water and cement, contains clay (Liapor) pellets. Thanks to these Liapor-pellets the building needs no further insulation. The walls thus have two functions: they are both the supporting elements and the insulation layer. This construction method has numerous advantages: thermal bridges can be avoided and energy saved; maintenance costs are also lower compared to other construction methods. The building is heated by the communal wood chip-fired heating. It was decided to do without air-conditioning. An earth heat pump, which controls the ventilation system, regulates the supply of warm or cold air according to needs.