The Unterlinden Museum is a truly cultural Mecca. This world-renowned site, located in Colmar (also known as the Auguste Bartholdi's birth city), is currently involved in a spectacular extension project.

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The Unterlinden Museum's extension project by the Colmar Municipality


Colmar's city-hall initiated an ambitious project, consisting of widely enlarging the Unterlinden Museum : It includes the building of a brand new structure, completely devoted to Modern Art, former municipal baths' entire rehabilitation (a magnificient edifice, inspired by New Art concepts (1906) and directly facing the actual museum), partial reorganization of the actual convent premises and, last but not least, the creation of rooms linking them all together. Moreover, the surrounding city areas will be enhanced, especially by uncovering the Sinnbach canal, aside from all sorts of other features.

In november 2009, the world wide famous Herzog & de Meuron office, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, has been chosen to complete the Unterlinden Museum extension work.

Cost of the operation : 27 513 000 € HT

Financial participations :

Colmar's city-hall9 775 000 €
State4 898 000 €
Region Alsace4 200 000 €
Department of the Haut-Rhin3 390 000 €
Society Schongauer1 750 000 €
Sponsorship3 500 000 €



L'affiche pour la pose de la première de l'extension  du musée Unterlinden   Pose de la première  pierre le 17 septembre 2012   Scellement de la plaque commémorative le 17  septembre 2012


Chantier Unterlinden le 29 avril 2013   Chantier Unterlinden le 29 avril 2013



Unterlinden - 01   Unterlinden - 02   Unterlinden - 03


Unterlinden - 04   Unterlinden - 05   Unterlinden - 06


Installed in a former dominican nunnery, the Unterlinden Museum displays a remarkable collection of sculptures and paintings from the end of the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance. It contains one occidental arts masterpiece : the Issenheim altarpiece, made between 1512 & 1516 by Nicolas de Haguenau and Grünewald.

Aside from that, its notable archeology collection, including everyday-life and funeral items, its ornemental art collection, composed of silversmith's trade treasures, various kinds of exceptionnally well conserved weapons, and its modern art collection, with some of the most renowned artists pieces (such as Monet, Picasso & Dubuffet), will stun you with their magnificence.

The current state of the museum - 01   The current state of the museum - 02


Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, both born in 1950 and 1975 degree holders of architecture from the Federal Institute of Technology of Zürich (ETH), founded their own company in 1978, which then became the Herzog & de Meuron office in 1997.

Herzog & de Meuron currently employ 360 collaborators, working on more than 30 projects, spread all over the world : Europe, America & Asia. The parent company headquarters are located in Basel and its subsidiaries are located in London , Madrid and New York City.

Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron and their partner Christine Binswanger are in charge of the Unterlinden Museum project.


This project includes :

  • Rearrangement of the actual museum, located in a XIIIth century convent.
  • Building of a contemporary structure ("new wing"), that will be hosting temporary exhibitions, as well as modern art & contemporary collections.
  • Renovation and transformation of the former municipal baths, reorganised and used for cultural events.
  • Implementation of an underground gallery, linking the convent to the former municipal baths and the new wing.

The Unterlinden Museum's extension project is divided into two distinct sets, facing each other on both sides of the upcoming new Unterlinden square : The medieval cloister, including the chapel currently housing the Issenheim altarpiece on the one hand, and the new wing, about the same size as the chapel on the other, forming another yard on the other side of the Unterlinden square. Between these two main elements, a glazed edifice will mark the presence of the museum.

The convent and the new wing will be linked by an underground gallery, passing by this structure, thus allowing light to get in, while allowing a view of the outdoor area (and vice-versa).

This project tightly combines three separate aspects : Town-planning, museography and architecture.

Herzog & de Meuron, 2011


Aerial view


Small house on the Unterlinden Square   Unterlinden square

"Sinn" Square   Cour des sculptures et Nouvelle Aile


Localisation de l'ancien couvent


The new entrance will be situated at the former convent's northern façade, facing the former municipal baths. This will allow guests access to the whole museum, enhancing the cloister and gothic architecture of the building.

New reception areas and services will also be offered to guests : cloakrooms, guidance, mixed media areas and a shop.

The new entrance


Localisation de la  nouvelle aile


The new wing, clad with bricks and copper, will be devoted to modern and contemporary art works, on two separate floors, favouring post-war abstraction pieces (Magnelli, Poliakoff, Soulages, Bram van Velde, Viera Da Silva), as well as masterpieces from Dubuffet and Picasso.

A tapestry, a copy of the world-wide famous painting from Picasso, "Guernica", will be permanently visible in a devoted area.

The third floor will allow the standing of large scale exhibitions.

Salle d'exposition, Nouvelle Aile, rez de chaussée   Showroom, new wing, 2nd floor


Localisation de la  galerie souterraine


This underground link will be divided into three exhibition halls, all holding very different kinds of exhibtions : the Museum's history, XIXth century Fine-Art works, XIXth and XXth century works.

The central hall will be devoted to three masterpieces from the museum's collections (from Monet, Rouault and Schuller).

The glazed structure, symbolically reffering to the link between the former convent, the municipal baths and the contemporary building, will be placed at the exact location of the former convent's farm.

Underground gallery   Small house, internal view


Localisation des anciens  bains municipaux

The former baths are going to be restored to their former splendor, becoming an event-area. This wonderful piece of architecture will be visible from the new wing's first floor balcony, only when there are no exhibitions.

The municipal baths, day view   The municipal baths, night view


Localisation de la  chapelle - Retable


The former church's choir will be completely devoted to the Issenheim altarpiece.

Other works, such as the Veit Wagner's altarpiece, and the Christ of pains from Martin Hoffmann will be shown in the nave.

Mixed media arcades will help guests to improve their understanding of the iconography and context of these XVIth century masterpieces' creation.

The chapel and Issenheim altarpiece   The chapel, west view



Project study, choice of the prime contractor : The Architect office Herzog & de Meuron

2010 et 2011

Architectural study

May 2012

Beginning of contruction of the sites

Logo du musée Unterlinden
Musée Unterlinden

1 rue Unterlinden – F-68000 Colmar
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