the newly completed ibex museum st. leonhard proudly overlooks a narrow valley in the austrian alps. the project is designed and realized by architects rainer köberl, daniela kröss, and julian gatterer to tell the story of the extermination and reintroduction of the ibex, a species of wild goat which occupies the mountainous region. enclosed by a volume constructed of red stained precast concrete, the indoor exhibition is completed with an outdoor enclosure for seven ibexes. the warm-hued building seeks to appear to approaching visitors from among the forested landscape like an alpine castle with its sloping pitches and elevated footbridge.
the ibex museum st. leonhard is built atop the footprint of a pre-existing barn, adjacent to one of the oldest farmhouses in the valley. architects rainer köberl, daniela kröss, and julian gatterer curate the pre-cast concrete exterior finish with a texture that echoes the rusticated wooden siding of the historic timber buildings nearby. the striking red footbridge connects the third floor of the tower with the slope, from which visitors are invited to reach the enclosure of the ibex goats. the vibrant red steel bridge matched such similarly finished details as the window frames and handrails to highlight the warm tones of the stained concrete.
the tower-like ibex museum st. leonhard represents a landmark within the mountains, visible from the small village below. its compactness, its orientation, and its concrete façade with its timber-like texture seek to introduce a memory of the old barn. each moment of the indoor and outdoor exhibition is distributed across the steep slope, and is physically accessible to all visitors. the vertical organization of the museum recalls the experience of ‘climbing’ the mountain, leading viewers from the bottom, to the top, across the bridge, and out into the natural context to greet the ibex face to face.
project title: ibex museum st. leonard
project architect: julian gatterer