Interaction Between Association and Distance: Thun Panorama
Architect: Graber und Steiger Architekten ETH/BSA/SIA, Luzern
Location: Schadaupark, 3602 Thun, Schweiz
In Thun’s Schadau Park, this impressive round building is home to the oldest existing panoramic painting. In order to lend the panorama more public presence, the municipal government decided to restore the work and commission an addition to the old complex. Graber und Steiger Architekten won the competition for this project. They planned to enhance the existing structure with a one-storey, pavilion-like volume which would take up the architectural language of the old rotunda while forming an addition to it.
In contrast to the brick building, which is closed in on all sides and juts upwards, the new structure is predominantly glazed and thus opens onto the surrounding park. It functions as the new access area for the exhibition space. Reflections of the park in the windows allow the pavilion to integrate subtly into the landscape without melding with it completely, for the rotunda is always visible.
The horizontal extension of the new extension and the bundling of the associated spaces into one eccentrically placed core work together to create a generous spatial impression. The new spatial arrangement enlarges the exhibition hall of the rotunda by various areas of use, each with its own specific requirements. The rectangular multipurpose area is slightly sunken: it offers space for temporary exhibitions and events. The glazing here guarantees a lot of natural light, as do flexible spatial delimitations adaptable by means of partition walls. The open entrance area serves as a reception hall. Along with the foyer, it is also home to a shop and a small bistro.
Visitors entering the round building come into the main part of the structure, which accommodates the Thun Panorama, which was created as the Wocher Panorama by the Basel artist Marquard Wocher at the beginning of the 19th century. On the central viewing gallery, visitors can admire the panorama, which is 38 metres long and 7.5 metres high, from all angles.