The New Fotomuseum Winterthur!
For 30 years, Fotomuseum Winterthur has captured the imagination of photography enthusiasts around the world. However, visitor needs and the demands placed on a modern museum have changed in recent years. The museum’s new building project and programme of renovation and redevelopment are geared to the vision that has been set out to create a museum of the future. During the renovation phase from June 2023 to spring 2025, the exhibition spaces at Grüzenstrasse 44 will remain closed, however, we will offer a variety of events, workshops and digital encounters.
Update: December 2023
In June 2023, the moment arrived: together with our visitors, we said goodbye to the Fotomuseum Winterthur premises at Grüzenstrasse 44. The building was cleared. All the materials – from documents and office furniture to equipment from the photo lab and items from the workshop – were put in storage, and the team moved into temporary office space.
The official ground-breaking ceremony took place in mid-July 2023 to mark the start of the implementation phase of the project. Since then, we have already reached several milestones that give cause for celebration:
The residential building on Töpferstrasse has been demolished to make space for the digging and laying of the foundations for the museum extension. This will, at some point, be used to house contemporary exhibition formats.
The existing (brick) building has been almost completely gutted. In the coming months the space will be reorganised and urgent work carried out to upgrade the climate-control system and enhance security and fire protection.
New entrance area
The ceiling has been knocked through to the first floor to create the new, two-storey foyer. This enlarged foyer with its open quality will give the museum’s new entrance area an inviting sense of spaciousness.
Spaces for educational activities
Work is moving forward on the lab facilities and the spaces that will be used for educational purposes. Education will be directly integrated into the new museum’s ground-floor activities, thus giving it a higher profile.
Despite the complex circumstances and sometimes challenging conditions, the project is proceeding on schedule.
In 2017 and 2018, a study was done of the museum’s immovable property. This revealed shortcomings in the ageing infrastructure, with an impact on climate control, safety and fire protection. To address these issues, Fotomuseum Winterthur is planning to renovate and redevelop the existing building. As part of these measures, an extension will be built that will satisfy the requirements of a modern museum.
The planned changes to the structure will provide space for new exhibition and event formats with an experimental approach. Communication with visitors, cultural participation and discursive formats will become even more of a focus: the museum will become a vibrant place of encounter.
Planning permission for the project was granted at the end of 2021. The new construction work and renovation phase will run from June 2023 to spring 2025. During this time the exhibition spaces at Grüzenstrasse 44 will be closed. However, Fotomuseum Winterthur will host an exhibition in the rooms of Fotostiftung Schweiz in 2024 and invite visitors to events, workshops, excursions and digital encounters. Detailed information on our programme can be found on our website.
Numerous educational programmes will continue to be offered for schools and groups. In the photo lab you can discover different photographic techniques such as camera obscura or photograms and within the framework of offers in the area of image and media competence, you get to know current photographic developments and delve into topics such as fake news or self-portrayal on the internet. You can find more information here.
Fotostiftung Schweiz will be open regularly throughout the renovation phase and will present a varied programme of exhibitions, events and workshops.
Why the structural changes?
Need for renovation
The building will be converted to meet the relevant standards in safety, fire protection and energy usage and the work areas will be upgraded and tailored to modern-day requirements.
Focus on education
In future, education will assume a key role: it will be directly integrated into the museum’s activities and thus become an even more high-profile feature of our programme.
The museum will optimise and make full use of the space at its disposal, eliminating the congestion that is currently a concern for users.
New exhibition space
The potential for using the exhibition and event spaces will be exploited to the full, with the new rooms offering flexibility and the best possible conditions for contemporary and experimental formats.
New foyer area
Enlarging and opening up the foyer area will create a sense of expansiveness, generating a welcoming environment that will connect the museum activities with the outdoor space.
Transparency and openness
The building’s new feeling of spaciousness will create an inviting atmosphere that will make the museum more open and transparent, both inwardly and outwardly.
The building measures will give the museum an appealing sense of openness and an attractive presence that will feed into a modern institutional image.
An enhanced Center for Photography
The shared outdoor space will reinforce the connection between Fotomuseum Winterthur and Fotostiftung Schweiz, making the Center for Photography more recognisable as an institution.
Stiftung Fotomuseum Winterthur
RWPA Architekten GmbH
Topik Partner AG
Dürsteler Bauplaner GmbH
Rudolf Diesel-Strasse 3
Preisig F. AG
Obere Kirchgasse 2
Marquart Elektroplanung + Beratung AG
Balzer Ingenieure AG
A und b bauphysik gmbh
Ingenieure und Brandschutzplaner
Setimmo Immobilien GmbH
Landschaftsarchitektur und Urban Design
Andreas Widmer GmbH
In den Schorenmatten 236
Büro Schoch Werkhaus AG
Balladen zum Abschied
In July 2023, we bid farewell to our premises together with our visitors before the museum temporarily closed its doors. Alongside artists and musicians, we invited the public to join us for visuals, music and encounters and filled the exhibition spaces with large-format photographs, expansive installations and sound performances, bringing the building to life once again.
Photographer Nicolas Polli presented his work Dear Moment, I Keep U for Later, consisting of photographs that – stored on hard drives and almost forgotten – had been waiting for years to make their grand entrance. Polli mounted the images on room-filling wooden structures, crafted from materials he had found during explorations of the museum’s workshop and storage areas.
With their work artists Sara Bezovšek, Dina Kelberman and Simone C. Niquille provided insights into the [permanent beta] project; an experimental laboratory at the intersection of research and practice which continues Fotomuseum Winterthur’s exploration of algorithmic and networked images and visual cultures. Davide-Christelle Sanvee engaged in a dialogue with the museum’s architecture with a performance, investigating the concept of the so-called white cube. Musical entertainment was provided by yodelling trio Heimetvögel, afrofuturism electronica pop duo OY and afrobeats by AKUAKU.
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