Colorful architecture in Bern, Switzerland

The modern meets the historic

Anyone wanting to visit Bern’s Historical Museum and planning to arrive by public transport is in for a truly red experience when they get to the station.

Bern Station Square is one of the most important hubs in the Swiss city of Bern, accommodating public transport, cyclists and pedestrians, as well as being home to Bern train station, the second busiest in Switzerland. A major 16-month reconstruction project was recently completed to bring the square into line with state-of-the-art standards and to give it the aesthetic appeal that befits the gateway to Switzerland’s capital.

A city wearing red

Landmarks around the station, such as bus and tram stops, elevators, taxi stops, telephones, information signage, lighting and drainage, are all colored in the shade of red used by Bernmobil, Bern’s public transport company. Stairwells, telephone stands and concrete structures at the station were also colored red. Other concrete colors were applied around the square to enhance the urban landscape and turn the square into a lively meeting place.

After all this colorful “hustle and bustle”, visitors arriving at the museum can enjoy a symbiosis in light gray between the modern and the historic, coupled with an incredible amount of charm. The simple beauty blends in perfectly with the cityscape.

Concrete facades reflect the original building

Bern Historical Museum was designed by André Lambert in 1894 in a Revivalist style to recall the architecture, especially the castles, of the 15th and 16th centuries. Over time, the museum, which houses collections devoted to prehistoric material, folk art, ethnographic objects, and various kinds of decorative and applied art, found it had outgrown its size.

To make the most of the limited land area available, the extension has been built partly above and partly below ground level. The texture of the building’s walls and the varying angles of the concrete facades are designed to reflect the irregular construction of the original building.

Colored concrete emphasizes modern extension

The objective was to create a modern extension that would harmonize with the existing classically designed structure, including a new interpretation of the original traditional materials such as sandstone, plaster and stone. To this end, the color of the concrete played an important role in the construction.

Colored concrete offers a multitude of decorating solutions with a wide range of colors. It fits perfectly in a dynamic sustainable building and modern architecture. Colored concrete is a durable and aesthetic solution for all modern architecture. It retains its color and resists mechanical damage.

Sika AG Switzerland produced colored concrete samples for the architect to choose from prior to construction.