“The Spire Halo” Museum

  • Salzburg, Austria
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Salzburg. A cliff. A museum


Salzburg. A cliff. A museum. It’s the specificity of each of these givens that interests me.


The synergy between the three specificities feels as if it could fuel a contextual project, something that could only go here and nowhere else. Once again I’m looking for a situational poetics: an identity.


Salzburg, of course, is hallowed ground and any new gesture needs to be finely gauged. But it also needs to be bold… and right. Just right.


When you enter the old Bürgerspital building and step into the central courtyard, you become aware of the cliff’s sheerness, and of this classical building, clinging to the rock. In the middle of the façade that backs onto the rock, there’s a rather pathetic little steeple; you have to hug the rock… But from up above, on the cliff top, you get an overview of Salzburg that’s the stuff of legend: I propose to create a viewfinder for viewing Salzburg that will take the form of a relieving arch – one that’s perfectly vertical and perfectly logical on a static plan but that, from a distance, can be read as an additional spire, or ghost. I’d really like this spire to be a ghost, a secondary image. That’s exactly what it will be in relation to the spire of St Blasius Church. It can also be even more clearly ghost-like if the little steeple becomes a real spire, sharp and soaring up into the sky. A perfectly geometric cone of copper that’s turned green or gold… The acute triangle cut into the rock then becomes the spire’s halo…. the shadow it casts. In an interplay between reality and unreality. Between a concept and its material form.


In the opposite direction, from inside the museum, this hollow-punch spire becomes a telescope. And the view of Salzburg is perfectly focused on the domes and most distinguishing features of the city. The new feature shows the epicentre and the sky with the precision of a sighting scale.



Jean Nouvel