Architecture: Ortner & Ortner
The bright, imposing cube housing the Leopold Museum, which almost looks as if it is floating, does not stand in parallel with the protracted main building of the MuseumsQuartier in front of it, but lies on a parallel axis with the Kunsthistorisches Museum on the other side of the street. So instead of looking into the old Court Stables designed by Fischer von Erlach, this extended line to the Kunsthistorisches Museum shows continuity: the collection of the KHM starts with the Old Egyptians and spans to the 19th century, the Leopold Museum starts with the 19th century and spans to World War II. Considering that the MuMok on the other side of the grand court focuses on post-1945 art, the entire art history of humanity is concentrated within this triangle.
The inside and the outside of the Leopold Museum are faced with almost white shell limestone from the Danube which points towards the light sandstone of the buildings at the Ringstrasse and their era as well as towards the entire k.u.k. Monarchy that gives the social and historic context for the main focus of the collection. Together with the Upper Austrian architects Manfred and Laurids Ortner, Rudolf Leopold developed a concept that allows insights, vistas and views: insights into the collection, vistas through the museum and breathtaking views of the city of Vienna.
The big atrium awash with light is the central starting point for visiting this so complacent construction. There are two floors to the top and two floors down. Only the exhibition rooms on the lowest floor are entirely lit without daylight and are therefor ideal for graphic art or modern art projects. On every floor the rectangular rooms revolve around the center of the lower and the upper atrium. By striding through the exhibition rooms one will not only get surprised by art but again and again by the above mentioned insights, vistas and views.