BRANDLHUBER Neanderthal Museum (1996)

Built near the site where the first Neanderthal was found, the Neanderthal Museum is a space for exhibitions and media installations dedicated to “the development of humankind.” The 1000-square-meter exhibition spaces spiral up through the building according to the historical sequence of the exhibition. The spiral—both exhibition space and circulation—endlessness in its shape, begins in the basement, with the past, and ends on the top floor, in present day. The top floor is also home to a café and restaurant, and a large observation window with views into the surrounding forest. In addition to the spiral, the building can be accessed from different entry points. These entry points, such as the linear stairway and punctual elevator located in the atrium, provide different speeds with which to experience the exhibition. The diagonal hollow body that’s cuts through the building on an angle contains four of the building’s primary functions: immediate access to the exhibitions via the central stairway, a fire stair, the entire ventilation system, and structural reinforcement. With its vertical orientation and raw concrete surfaces, it can be understood as a counterpart to the building’s exterior, which is characterized by the horizontal striation from the glass facade and its semi-transparent, reflective quality.