Guests from the worlds of politics, business and culture attended the laying of the foundation stone for the Kunsthaus extension at the construction site on Tues-day 8 November. In the presence of the architect David Chipperfield, the commission-ing body praised the visionary nature of the project and expressed its satisfaction with the progress of construction.
Construction of the extension on Heimplatz began on 3 August 2015. The laying of the foundation stone signals a further key landmark in this major project for the City of Zurich, the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft and the Stiftung Zürcher Kunsthaus, which together make up the commissioning body, the Einfache Gesellschaft Kunsthaus-Erweiterung (EGKE). Figures from the worlds of politics, business, society, the media and culture who have supported the project since the idea was unveiled in May 2002 were invited by the EGKE to attend the ceremony.
The foundation stone, consisting of a casket set in the ground, contains the proposal that was put to the popular vote, the budget estimate, the construction permit, visual materials on the building site as well as a masterpiece catalogue of the Kunsthaus collection and messages of thanks and wishes from the speakers: Walter B. Kielholz (Chair of the EGKE, President of the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft), Corine Mauch (Mayor of Zurich, Vice-Chair of the EGKE), Dr. André Odermatt (Member of the City Council, Head of the Structural Engineering Department), Dr. Martin Zollinger (President of the Stiftung Zürcher Kunsthaus), Sir David Chipperfield (architect), and Dr. Christoph Becker (Director of the Kunsthaus Zürich). Urs Fischer, the internationally renowned Zurich artist, supplied a foundation stone for the collection in the enlarged Kunsthaus – a bronze sculpture more than 2 x 2 metres in size.
Masterpiece of architecture for Zurich
The speeches praised the importance of the Kunsthaus extension from a range of perspectives. In addition to providing more space for temporary exhibitions and the Kunsthaus’s valuable collection, the new building also underscores Zurich’s status as a city of culture and furthers the development of Heimplatz as a centre of cultural excellence. Together with its art garden, the extension will also be an attractive place for the public to spend time and relax. In terms of both urban planning – the new Kunsthaus forms the gateway to the university district – and architecture, the construction is a key project for Zurich and one for which high quality is paramount.