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The Noble Simplicity of Peter Zumthor's Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum

© Aldo Amoretti
© Aldo Amoretti

After previously documenting the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, photographer Aldo Amoretti once again captures the grounded simplicity of Peter Zumthor, this time with images of his Allmannajuvet Zinc Mine Museum in Sauda, Norway. The three-building campus calls upon the aesthetics of the country's abandoned zinc mines from the 1800s, evoking the toilsome labor of the workers in its rough stone and exposed joint work. The museum is situated on one of Norway's National Tourist Routes and was commissioned by the state as part of an effort to increase tourism in the region. As such, the buildings are poised in and above the landscape, providing views of the natural gorge that unfold as visitors move through Zumthor's dark, shaftlike interiors.

Amoretti's photos express the modesty of the project, from the blackness of the interior galleries to the thin stilts that support the buildings within their rocky surroundings. The museum structures are suspended in balance with the harsh, gray climate—a noble representation of the working conditions of the miners the project aims to memorialize.

© Aldo Amoretti© Aldo Amoretti© Aldo Amoretti© Aldo Amoretti+ 22

Rijksmuseum Revisited: The Dutch National Museum One Year On

The Rijksmuseum, which reopened last year after a decade of restoration and remodelling, is a museum dedicated to “the Dutchness of Dutchness.” Pierre Cuypers, the building's original architect, began designing this neogothic cathedral to Dutch art in 1876; it opened in 1885 and has stood guard over Amsterdam's Museumplein ever since.

Over the centuries, the building suffered a series of poorly executed 'improvements': intricately frescoed walls and ceilings were whitewashed; precious mosaics broken; decorative surfaces plastered over; and false, parasitic ceilings hung from the walls. Speaking in his office overlooking the Rijksmuseum’s monumental south west façade, Director of Collections Taco Dibbits noted how the most appalling damage was incurred during the mid-20th century: “everything had been done to hide the original building […but] Cruz y Ortiz [who won the competition to redesign the Rijks in 2003] embraced the existing architecture by going back to the original volumes of the spaces as much as possible.”

For Seville-based Cruz y Ortiz, choosing what to retain and what to restore, what to remodel and what to ignore were, at times, difficult to balance. Cruz y Ortiz found their answer in the mantra: 'Continue with Cuypers'. They threw the original elements of the building into relief but did not act as aesthetes for the 'ruin'. In contrast to David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap's restoration of Berlin's Neues Museum, for instance, Cruz y Ortiz rigorously implemented a clean visual approach that favoured clarity over confusion. What is original, what is restored, and what is new mingle together in a melting pot of solid, understated architectural elements. Sometimes this approach contradicted Cuyper's original intentions; however, more often than not it complements them in a contemporary way.

Courtesy of Rijksmuseum. Image © John Lewis MarshallCourtesy of Rijksmuseum / Great Hall. Image © Jannes LindersCourtesy of Rijksmuseum / Gallery of Honour. Image © Iwan BaanCourtesy of Rijksmuseum / Cuyper's Library Restored. Image © Iwan Baan+ 39

AD Round Up: Women Architects Part II

In honor of International Women's Day, we've once again rounded up some stunning architecture designed by female architects (In case you missed Part 1, featuring work by Zaha Hadid, Jeanne Gang, and more, click here).

AD Round Up: Architecture in New Zealand

AD Round Up: Architecture in New ZealandAD Round Up: Architecture in New ZealandAD Round Up: Architecture in New ZealandAD Round Up: Architecture in New Zealand+ 5

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