Brandhorst Museum / Sauerbruch Hutton


Architects: Sauerbruch Hutton
Location: Munich,
Client: Staatliches Hochbauamt, Munich
Project Area: 12,100 sqm
Budget: $46M Euro
Project year: 2002
Construction year: 2005-2008

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The Brandhorst Museum houses a substantial private collection of late 20th Century and contemporary art, mostly paintings. The scheme consists of a simple elongated building of three interconnecting volumes; its tall “head” marks the southeastern corner of the Munich museum quarter. The three volumes are distinguished by claddings of different colors and hues.

elevation 01
elevation 01 © Sauerbruch Hutton

Internally, the museum is arranged on three floors connected by a generous staircase. On the lowest level is a large day-lit “patio”, that forms the focal point for a suite of galleries dedicated to media and graphic art. The ground floor has seven universal exhibition spaces, illuminated by a daylight system that brings zenith light into the interior through a series of reflectors. The top floor -with the largest spaces- has continuous top light in all its galleries. The design aims to create a subtle differentiation in character between the various exhibition spaces through the different daylight qualities as well as through a deliberate variation in the sequence and dimensions of all the rooms.


The external skin of the building is composed of 36,000 TERRART®-Baguette ceramic rods in an assortment of 23 custom colors, glazed in families of eight colors. A second layer consists of a horizontally folded metal skin, coated in two colors. This layering and its polychromy lends the skin a varied appearance: What is vivid and three-dimensional from close up will appear homogeneous and flat from afar.

Painstakingly designed by Sauerbruch Hutton and manufactured by NBK Ceramic, a Hunter Douglas company, the colorful facade was created in response to nearby structures. The architects placed the array of terracotta rods in front of colored, perforated aluminum sheeting to create a gentle veil on the outside of the structure. Sunlight shining on the facade casts a pattern of shadows that shifts throughout the day, further enhancing the design’s dynamic effect.

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Cite: "Brandhorst Museum / Sauerbruch Hutton" 28 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
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  • oscar falcón lara

    There is something amazing about the materials used for the outside, at first look it would seem bland or rigid, and although it’s blocky, I find it rather interesting and alluring to some point. Would love to visit to see the scale for myself, the photos don’t convey much.

  • axel

    Love the effect of the texture! Really nice project.

  • Squidly

    It would have been interesting if the colors selected would have created a different impression of hue from a distance than from up close, like billboards do, but from the photos its not clear that happens. the overall effect is a bit muddy. nice idea though.

  • jiaxi guo

    i am a student in New Zealand, i want to know what the size of this building(Brandhorst Museum). somebody could tell me where find the actually size.