Museum of Military History in Vienna

Heeresgeschichtliches Museum
Working time:
February 2012

Invited competition for the redesign of a group of exhibitions halls for Sarajevo/First World War

IGLHAUT + von GROTE Ausstellungsgestaltung und Design / Museum of Military History in Vienna
Project text:

In 2014 we remembered the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Vienna’s Museum of Military History/Historical Institute of the Military is dedicating three halls to this thematic area. IGLHAUT + von GROTE presented an expansive concept for this project in an invitational competition. The concept was awarded with a special prize of the jury.
For the redesign of the exhibits in the “Sarajevo/First World War” suite of halls, an integrated concept for architectonic and dramaturgical measures will be presented which opens up more space and enlarges the presentation area.
The central architectonic measure takes the form of an incised ramp which begins in the “Sarajevo Hall” and continues through the “First World War” hall to attain a height of two storeys. This measure for opening up the former ground level creates additional wall and display case surfaces and a new spatial experience: the space becomes more dramatic in terms of effect and navigation. It creates new visual axes while altering perceptibility of spatial levels (up/down, vistas, interrelations) and exhibition themes. The multi-perspective approach to the exhibition concept is already built into the spatial organisation. With the incised ramp the space achieves new transparency, openness and sense of drama.
This architectonic intervention also has a metaphorical meaning: the ramp burrows into the past, which is also the building’s past. The debris from civilisations and wars is uncovered, and with it buried memories.
Despite the functional rigour of the exhibition idea, with exhibits drawn solely from the collection of the Museum of Military History, the visitor experience will be strengthened. More than just a presentation of exhibits, the exhibition instead becomes a living narrative in space. Colours, materials, presentation techniques and lighting come together to create a scenographic whole. The architectural idea and exhibition presentation come together in one harmonious concept.