The Brandhorst Museum houses a substantial private collection of late 20th-century and contemporary art, predominantly paintings. The building consists of a long volume that lines the street and a taller one that marks the north-eastern corner of Munich’s museum quarter. These are both clad in a textured and polychromatically treated skin, whose gradations in hue and tone give the building the appearance of three simple interlocking volumes.
The museum contains naturally lit galleries on three floors, whose rooms are distinguished by variations in sequence, dimension and proportion. A daylit patio on the lower level serves as the starting point for a suite of artificially illuminated galleries dedicated to photography, media and graphic art. The universal exhibition spaces on the ground floor are illuminated from the side by an innovative daylight guidance system, whereas the large rooms on the top floor, including the polygonal hall designed for Cy Twombly’s Lepanto Cycle, are all naturally lit from above. The external envelope is composed of ceramic batons mounted in front of a horizontally folded metal skin. Embodying the principle of kinetic polychromy, this lends the building a dynamic appearance with countless gradations between a smooth, almost dematerialised impression when seen from afar and one of a three-dimensional woven structure from close proximity. Like a vast abstract painting, the façade communicates the spirit of the museum as a place where art comes alive.