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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Cinema
  4. Switzerland
  5. EM2N
  6. 2010
  7. Cinématheque Suisse / EM2N

Refurbishment in Architecture

presented by the MINI Clubman

Cinématheque Suisse / EM2N

  • 01:00 - 6 June, 2013
Cinématheque Suisse / EM2N
Cinématheque Suisse / EM2N, © Roger Frei
© Roger Frei

© Roger Frei © Roger Frei © Roger Frei © Roger Frei + 19

  • Architects

  • Location

    Penthaz, Switzerland
  • Partners

    Mathias Müller, Daniel Niggli
  • Area

    13.254 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

  • Project Leaders

    Marc Holle (Associate), Bettina Baumberger, Jean-Baptiste Joye
  • Project team

    Pascal Deschenaux, Yann Dubied, Marita Gelze de Montiel, Phillippe Jorisch, Robert Kuijper, Andrea Landell, Yoshihiro Nagamine, Noémi Necker, Tanja Schmid, Michael Zürcher
  • Client

    Bundesamt für Bauten und Logistik BBL
  • Construction

  • Completion

  • More Specs Less Specs
© Roger Frei
© Roger Frei

© Roger Frei
© Roger Frei

Paradoxically, the charm of the existing Cinémathèque lay in its simple and utilitarian appearance. The home of the national collective film memory presented itself as an unpretentious accumulation of sheds, concerned more about the contents than the packaging. The extension project accepts this starting point and makes it its own. The structure of the existing buildings arranged in a linear fashion is translated by new additions and remodeling into a composite, ambivalent form of parallel buildings of different lengths. Just the end situation is marked by angled cuts; the building in this way acquires a face. 

© Roger Frei
© Roger Frei

In the interior the principle of buildings positioned alongside each other is also evident. The three main circulation systems lying above each other penetrate the parallel cross-walls vertically, allowing the sequential arrangement of the beams to be experienced. The suspended conference rooms in the two-story entrance and exhibition hall are in turn connected with each other by windows. In the views across and through the building this produces a perspective depth as well as suggesting associations to film effects such as montage and cutting.While the public areas and all work places are concentrated in Penthaz I, the archive itself is conceived as a purely underground storage area on the far side of the road. In this way the functional and atmospheric side effects are restricted to an absolute minimum.


Penthaz II is a kind of super-functional bunker that ensures the optimum protection of the culturally valuable artifacts. In a simple manner a kind of urban disposition is achieved that, on the one hand, reacts to the expansiveness of the adjoining agricultural landscape and on the other gives the institution Cinémathèque Suisse a clear and emphatic address. The new shell of rusted steel, an industrial material that emanates a sensual quality, encases the entire complex and connects the new and the existing parts. The gradual weathering of the natural material refers to the archive’s function in preserving film and gives the complex its own differentiated identity. The modulated, condensed roofscape composed of gently sloping, planted roofs takes up the theme of industrial production facilities or film studios.

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
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Cite: "Cinématheque Suisse / EM2N" 06 Jun 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884