A Curvy Klee Museum, Sprouting From the Swiss Hills

Alan Riding in the New York Times:

Strangely perhaps, in a land dominated by the Alps, the countryside around the Swiss capital is shaped by rolling hills that invite nothing more dramatic than unhurried contemplation. And it was this, both mood and look, that Renzo Piano sought to evoke when he added an $86 million museum, the Paul Klee Center, to the orderly Bern landscape.

The results are both striking and discreet. The center’s three round “hills” are etched and molded in a stainless steel that mirrors the sky, while their sloping roofs disappear under a field of barley. Thus the three basic tenets of Klee’s semi-abstract work – line, form and color – are present. And, by chance, a mere 100 yards away is the Schosshalden Cemetery, where Klee is buried.


The center, in a way, is a typical Piano museum, but typical only in that, when planning a museum, Mr. Piano noted, he does not work from a template but instead allows the location and purpose of each project to define the design. And this at least explains how the contrasting styles of, say, the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Menil Collection in Houston and the Paul Klee Center can be the work of the same architect.

More here.