The Natural History Museum Vienna is one of the most important museums of its kind. The monumental building was commissioned by Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, designed by the architects Gottfried Semper and Carl von Hasenauer and was opened to the public in 1889. The museum overlooks Maria-Theresien-Platz, mirroring its twin, the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum). The architectural ensemble is part of Vienna’s historic city centre, which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In 2022 Hoskins Architects was commissioned to prepare a masterplan, enabling the museum to face the challenges of 21st century. During the development stage Hoskins Architects worked closely with the museum in a participatory processes to draw upon the team’s knowledge and experience of the building. The masterplan sets out a series of measures to improve the visitor experience and working environment. Interventions for visitors include a new accessible entrance and foyer with increased visitor facilities, educational and seminar rooms, and new lift access to the historic exhibition rooms on the upper floors. Additional museum storage and object handling areas are planned in a new below ground depot. The phased interventions allow the museum to evolve while respecting and preserving the original concept of this unique building.